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The turning point: It’s becoming chic to be a skeptic

Disclaimer: For those who don’t have a good grip on reading and comprehension, note that nowhere here do I claim any of the statements by these experts proves anything about the science. This post is – as it claims, just about the possible chic-ness of being a skeptic. 12-2-09


This must be it, surely, the point where being a skeptic has more scientific cachet than being a believer. The trickle is becoming a flood. We are reaching the stage where independent scientists will want to make sure they are known to be on the skeptical side of the fence.

None other than the guy who used to sign off James Hansens funding at NASA has just announced that not only is he a skeptic, but that Hansen is an embarrassment to NASA and was never muzzled. In a message to the Minority Office at the Environment and Public Works Committee, Theon wrote:

“I appreciate the opportunity to add my name to those who disagree that global warming is man made, …I was, in effect, Hansen’s supervisor because I had to justify his funding, allocate his resources, and evaluate his results”

“Hansen was never muzzled even though he violated NASA’s official agency position on climate forecasting (i.e., we did not know enough to forecast climate change or mankind’s effect on it). Hansen thus embarrassed NASA by coming out with his claims of global warming in 1988 in his testimony before Congress,”

Retired senior NASA atmospheric scientist, Dr. John S. Theon

Theon joins a growing list of over 650 prominent skeptics. Here’s how the list is becoming a story all of it’s own, and the drive to publicly announce skepticism is picking up pace.

Dec 11, 2008: Marc Morano released an updated list of 650 skeptics, it’s a 230 page pdf file with quotes and qualifications listed from skeptical prominent scientists that even includes past and present IPCC authors. As people became aware of the list, the clamour began from those who want to join in. 11 scientists joined the list in the next two weeks including Dr Schaffer, and Dr Happer (below).

Dec 19, 2008: Dr Schaffer, Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Uni of Arizona, has authored more than 80 scientific publications and authored the paper “Human Population and Carbon Dioxide.”

“The recent lack of warming in the face of continued increases in CO2 suggests (a) that the effects of greenhouse gas forcing have been over-stated; (b) that the import of natural variability has been underestimated and (c) that concomitant rises of atmospheric CO2 and temperature in previous decades may be coincidental rather than causal,” he added. “I fear that things could easily go the other way: that the climate could cool, perhaps significantly; that the consequences of a new Little Ice Age or worse would be catastrophic and that said consequences will be exacerbated if we meanwhile adopt warmist prescriptions. This possibility, plus the law of unintended consequences, leads me to view proposed global engineering ‘solutions’ as madness.”

Dr. W. M. Schaffer, Professor, Uni of Arizona

Dec 22, 2007: Dr Will Happer, Professor at Princeton University and former Director of Energy Research at the Department of Energy from 1990 to 1993, and has published over 200 scientific papers.

“I had the privilege of being fired by Al Gore, since I refused to go along with his alarmism. I did not need the job that badly… I have spent a long research career studying physics that is closely related to the greenhouse effect, for example, absorption and emission of visible and infrared radiation, and fluid flow… Fears about man-made global warming are unwarranted and are not based on good science.”

Dr Will Happer, Professor, Princeton

January 7th, 2009: Jack Schmitt—the last man to walk on the moon, announced he was a skeptic.

“As a geologist, I love Earth observations,” Schmitt wrote, “But, it is ridiculous to tie this objective to a ‘consensus’ that humans are causing global warming when human experience, geologic data and history, and current cooling can argue otherwise. ‘Consensus,’ as many have said, merely represents the absence of definitive science. You know as well as I, the ‘global warming scare’ is being used as a political tool to increase government control over American lives, incomes and decision making…”

Jack Schmitt, Geology PhD, Harvard, NASA Astronaut

This is probably the sweetest of the lot in a way. As Marc Morano points out, back in 2006 Al Gore said “The debate’s over. The people who dispute the international consensus on global warming are in the same category now with the people who think the moon landing was staged on a movie lot in Arizona.”

Back then, being a skeptic was supposedly equivalent to being a nut-case. Now, even those who’ve landed on the moon dispute the concensus.

The momentum is growing. History will record this cold northern winter as the season when being known as a skeptic became scientifically hip, and being labelled a ‘believer’—scientifically uncool (as it should be) .

I say: scientists everywhere, be proud of our standards, stand up and be counted. Rise against Dark-Age-reasoning, political pressure and the call of government grants.

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179 comments to The turning point: It’s becoming chic to be a skeptic

  • #
    The Engineer

    As a life-long contrarian, it looks like I might have to become a warmie soon – NOT.
    I had a physics teacher, who used to pose problems on the board and then get three different answers from people in the class. He then got the class to vote on which answer they thought was the correct one.
    The teacher claimed that this was proof that democracy didn’t work – as the majority “never” voted for the correct answer.

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  • #
    Plonker

    I can’t be chic! Wouldn’t mind being cool though. The sad thing is that when (we) sceptics are proven right, im so uncool nobody will believe I was a sceptic. Question – How many of the ‘GW Climate Experts’ will admit the king has no clothes then?
    Definition of an expert – An ex is a has been and a s-pert is a drip under pressure. Sorry that joke(?) dosen’t really work the way I tell it!

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  • #

    “How many of the ‘GW Climate Experts’ will admit the king has no clothes then?”

    Not many. There will be the sudden discovery by the masses at some point that they’ve always been suspicious.

    First we have to cross the critical mass line, but soon after it becomes cool to join in, it will then shift quickly to the next phase – the “yeah, it was always obvious really.” That way, half the population can say they became sceptics before most people did, and the other half can maintain that they never really believed in the first place. Everyone’s a winner.

    ‘cept of course, Al and Jim.

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  • #
    Tom G(ologist)

    Joanne – I read this one just this morning on WUWT. It’s just getting too good to be true. And your assessment of how the general populace will ultimately react is spot on. My own expereince is with my students at University. The last lecture each term in my Intro to Geology class is climatology/palaeoclimatology. At the end of each term, I ahve about a 50% average of students who tell me something along the lines of “I knew something was wrong with this issue, but I did not have the knowledge to figure out what it was.” Last semester was great because one student had me come early this semester to address an on campus meeting of Hispanic Fraternites which was really well attended and the data I presented was received with the same responses.

    Personally I don’t care what the aftermath will be – as long as this bloddy bit of nonsense recedes into tha annals of history where it belongs.

    Tom

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  • #
    Demesure

    I don’t want to cool down the cool new skeptic chic but considering how the ozone scare has been thouroughly debunked by studies and FACTS over the past 20 years and considering that it’s still touted by warmists and the MSM as a mitigation success model to emulate the “climate protection” pipe dream, I wouldn’t bump my breast in downtown diners claiming “I’m a climate sceptic and proud of it”.

    Like it or not, whatever the outcome of any post-modern hysteria, eco-poseurs are the heros, sceptics are the villains. Because people who like birds, plants, small animals and fluorescent lamps are always more lovable than people who like numbers.

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  • #
    John Elliot

    One of the worst results of the unravelling of the AGW con job will be that the politicians, economists and all the other camp followers will say that they were acting on the best scientific advice available at the time. ( After all, isn’t that what Rudd and Wong are claiming now?) Their political spin merchants will play that for all it’s worth and scientific credibilty will be the loser.
    I hope I’m wrong

    John Elliot

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  • #
    Tom G(ologist)

    John – you are not wrong. Waiting in the wings are the anti-evolution crowd who are almost to a man conservatives who also refute (but not on scientific grounds) AGW. Once they see the non-credibility of this debacle, they WILL be trumpteting that even science which was considered beyond question can not be relied on as truth and there will be a new push to add “critical analysis” language to state science standards. I have been warning PA myers over at Pharyngula about this for a couple years and yet he keeps posting crap like “anyone who doesn’t accept the science behind evolution is nothing more than a flat earther and a global warming denier”

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    Tom G(ologist)

    Joanne – are you familar with “The Brights” movement. It is a group of atheists who have taken the offensive on what they are called. They rightly claim that being termed atheist is casting them in the terms of what they are NOT, rather than what they are. So they thought about it called themselves Brights (hate it myself but the idea is great).

    It’s like the gay movement. They usurped the regular old English word gay which had no negative connotation and applied it to themselves. It took several decades (it began back in the 30s or 40s) but now everyone uses the term and it is not negative (queer) not explecit (homosexual), not derrogatory (fag). It is what they chose to call themselves – a good, pleasant term.

    I think we need to stop calling ourselves “skeptics” We are playing into the mistake that there is something credible about which we are just not yet convinced.

    I’m going to think about this to see if I can think of something. I would invite everyone else to do the same.

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  • #
    Tom G(ologist)

    Check out WUWT for yet another salvo into the magazine of the AGW camp.

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  • #
    Rand

    Plonker, you gave a definition of an expert. I fondly remember one
    from an experienced friend many years ago, who gave speeches on the road.

    He defined an expert as “an idiot more than 50 miles from home.”

    Tom G, I find your hunt for a new moniker to replace “skeptic” interesting.

    How about “ProLife” or “ProChoice”. Oops, I guess those have already been
    taken. “Solar Centrists?” Hmmm, this requires more thought.
    Smiles, Rand

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  • #
    Jonathan

    How ’bout “The Illuninati?”

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  • #
    Jonathan

    OK, try that again…

    How ’bout ‘The Illuminati?’

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  • #
    Han Jameson

    Tom, I think the term you’re looking for is “Intellectual”. After the abuses that we have taken at the expense of our intellect I think its a deserving monicker. It will hit them where it hurts too. I live in the Bay Area here in California, and am at times nauseated at the fact that people buy into cockamamie nonsense like Global Warming and consider it an act of intellectual superiority. This, they believe, gives them carte blanche to be arrogant and ignorant to any other way. It’s like they think there is some great righteousness that comes with this belief, because they carry the burden of having to consider tough mitigation strategies, like making poor people pay triple for electricity, or population control. Meanwhile, as we all know, they are actually morons, too ignorant to what is true science to realize how FOS (Full _ _) they look to anyone who actually IS intelligent. So when the curtain falls, and these pseudo-geniuses are backpedaling to save face, we should proudly and loudly declare our collective selves “Intellectuals”.

    That said, I fully agree, that we are nearing a critical mass on this issue. However since most of us are nerdy scientists, we never really pined for the spotlight to be on us. As more people jump on this train (our cue that its time to jump off), maybe we should start thinking about the next wrong we are going to set right. GW is hotly contested right now, but is hardly the only hoax getting lots of press and money thrown at it. So which do we tackle next?:

    The unproven “link” between nicotine and lung cancer
    The unproven “fact” that HIV leads to AIDS
    The myth of Fluoride in water and toothpaste
    The efficacy of Flu Shots
    The great Cholesterol swindle

    Just throwing a few out for all you Intellectuals out there to consider. Great article and great posts. It’s reassuring to know the world isn’t completely stupid…

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  • #
    Michael

    Han, how about including the ban on DDT in your list.

    I don’t think it’s time to jump ship yet concerning AGW, though. There is still work to do. Think of the believers as pathogenic bacteria. If we stop taking antibiotics after a few days, the resistant bacteria will come back stronger than before. But even if the AGW strain of the bacteria is killed off, we will likely get a mutant strain, and the global cooling scare will have begun (again).

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  • #
    Brian Valentine

    I do hope you are right, Jo – about what is now chic; I hope young people catch on to this.

    The sight of young people – dressed in polar bear outfits, beating drums, chanting “end global warming now,” and their misguided adoration of despicable charlatans such as Al Gore

    - is positively pathetic; without a doubt, the dimmest-witted collection of people I have ever set sight on.

    More important than “chic,” however, is knowledgeable – as well as sensible, in understanding what is involved with their demands and inane warnings.

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  • #
    Robert Ellison

    I was on the end of the Inhoffe list of ‘prominent’ skeptical scientists in 2007. I am proudly listed in the ‘in the pay of Exxon website’ – oh were it true. I offered to sell out but didn’t get a reply. My skeptical credentials are firmly stablished.

    I have to take issue, however, with an off the cuff remark about evolution. By all means let us take up this much more important debate.

    I have nothing againt evolutionary theory per se – just not sure how the theory survives the time continuum. Give me relativity over evolution any day.

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  • #
    Mike Davis

    I will throw out: BINE Belivers In Natural Events. Our theme song can be: From a Distance
    I like the song and feel we are in a type of war for human rights.
    http://history.sandiego.edu/gen/snd/fromadistance.html
    Of course I was a hippie and still some how aged.

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    Tom G(ologist)

    Robert:

    I have a more recent one. I just completed the intorductory lecture at my Geol 101 course at The College of New Jersey (adjunt faculty there and that is its actual name). Part of that intorduction to the Earth includes a smattering of Earth history, getting students ready for what is coming iin the semester ahead, and Earth’s climate history. Of course I let drop a few REAL facts to give them a taste of how I was going to shatter some notions on many fronts (dinosaurs, diamond formation, evolution, climate change – all presented like a newscater to get them fired up – these are all non-majors).

    Anyway, one student was really interested and happened to mention my remarks on AGW to his political science professor. The long and the short – I have been labeled as ‘dangerous’. My views and opinions are dangerous, too, and I should not be presenting that kind of stuff. That is almost a quote as reprted back to me. My honest respnse to this was a literal barking laugh and I reported it to the rest of the class immediately to highlight the kind of thought control peiople want to exercise, pointing out to them that it is even acceptable to have religious debates – to attack each others’ ideologies, but it is not acceptable to think un-Gorely thoughts and even wrse to voice them.

    After my students actually had a good laugh too – I spent some time on how like Stalin and Chairman Mao this kind of censorship is and the students loved it – they all agreed to watch for wanted for dangerous thoughts posters of me on campus.

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  • #
    Phillip Bratby

    It’s all well and good trying to think of a label, but history shows us how dangerous labels can be. For example every country that calls itself “the peoples democratic republic” you know is a brutal dictatorship. And websites such as “Openmind” and “RealClimate” are actually “Closedmind” and “UnrealClimate”. So we can’t call ourselves open-minded or realists. All good scientists are questioning and sceptical of new scientific theories. We need solid evidence before accepting any theory. So, I’m not helping here, just pointing out the difficulties.

    And John, I fear you are correct. Science and scientists as a whole will get blamed for the deceipt of a few hundred bad scientists.

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  • #
    John A

    I am not what some in this CO@ business call a “skeptic” since I recognize there was a bit of warming (and now steady, perhaps cooling) – but I think the “Anthropegenic CO2″ part is somewhere between not-proven and silly.

    Temps up, manufacturing up, AGW! No. As the author of a medical blog I read points out over and over, correlation does not prove causation and correlation is all I get from the AGW side.

    I like to remind the computer-model believers that Chaos Theory, or the “Butterfly Effect,” was formalised by one Prof. Lorenz – a meteorologist who came to realize his models not only did not work, but could not work.

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  • #

    John A – well said. Lorenz also discovered the “tipping point”, where the data became so out of whack as a result of extremely small error repetition, that the prediction became bizarre in its outcome.

    My major concern with all this is that once the punters realise that they have been hoodwinked by some pretend scientists for political purposes, it may have the effect of setting real science back a century or more….

    No-one will trust the scientists.

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  • #
    Tom G(ologist)

    My concern is with evolutionary science. People like PZ Myers at Pharyngula have been equating anyone who doesn’t accept evolution with “Flat Earthers and Climate Change deniers” I have tried to warn him not to link evolution’s credibility with AGW but….

    When the moral majority crowd get to join in on the “Scientists are not credible” bandwagon, watch out..
    In this case it is not just a few hundered bad players, it’s also a lot of scientists in other fields who should know better than to “believe” what they hear, but want to believe anything that concludes that we humans are the worst thing that ever happened to Earth.

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  • #

    In your list of well known, recent dissenters above Jo you did not include J. Scott Armstrong, founder of the International Journal of Forecasting – he specialises in forecasting – not weather specifically but generically. At Jennifer Marohasy’s web site here: http://jennifermarohasy.com/blog/2009/01/no-scientific-forecasts-to-support-global-warming/ – where he set out his reasons for dissenting from the AGW ‘theories’ he copped an enormous amount of flak from the alarmists for not being a climatologist – ‘only a forecaster’. How desperate is that? The IPCC has spent a lot of time debating on whether to call its forecasts predictions or projections (all three words mean the same thing to us mortals in my dictionaries) – this is definitely angels on a pin head territory and I would have thought a ‘forecaster’ was the very person they need.

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  • #
    Dan Lee

    I’m a “Climate Naturalist”.

    Of course this is becoming chic, we were just treated to a round of aging congressional windbags expressing faux-outrage over a topic they have no clue about. CO2 is poison now, is it? Nuclear waste?

    Get me out of here, I don’t want my friends to catch me rubbing intellectual shoulders with that pack of pompous poseurs.

    Great site, I’ve been lurking for a while but I wanted to comment on this one. I hardly dare hope that the tide might really be turning.

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  • #
    betsybounds

    I’ve been watching these guys for years now, and I’m pretty sure their political agenda isn’t going to be derailed by any amount of real-world theory falsification. I think they know their idea is in trouble, and that we are on the verge of a period of unprecedented cooling. My guess is that that’s one reason they’re in such a panicked hurry to implement their destructive agenda of carbon taxation, cap-and-trade, and primitivization. When it passes and the cooling sets in with a vengeance, they’ll be in a position–just barely–to yell, “Look! It’s working! We must keep it up and do even more!” These people never give up.

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  • #
    common sense

    There is hope, thank goodness. But the fix is still in. Al Gore this week urged the US senate to action by reporting that “some scientists believe that the earth will heat up by 11 degrees” if President Obama’s environmental initiatives are not implemented immediately.
    Reasons to proceed with caution are too many for the space of this reply. Just one for emphasis. It is the reckless and shortsighted sacrifice of fertile arable land to plant bio-fuels and to enable cap-and-trade financed hydroelectric projects in China and elsewhere. With a world population of 7 billion humans we should rather be worried about food production and the preservation of precious agricultural land.
    It is only a question of time until the next Global cooling period will start. A return to the conditions of the medieval Little Ice Age today could mean famine on a unprecedented scale.

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  • #
    Drakken

    When something new happens those with a vested interest in the status quo go through three phases: firstly “it’s a joke”; then “it’s a threat” and finally it’s obvious”.

    I think we left the “joke” phase a while ago when it was obvious to the alarmists that the other side was beginning to command respect and couldn’t be laughed off. We’re still in the “threat” phase where the attacks are personal and getting dirtier as the alarmists get increasingly desperate. When we move into the “obvious” phase, in the very near future, it’ll be amazing how many of those who had such firm warmist views will deny all knowledge of ever having opposed the truth. they’ll also cynically claim how obvious the truth is and that NO CREDIT should be given to those that have been trying to make it heard for the last few years. Then they’ll put their hands out for the next grant (to study global cooling!) and carry on as if nothing had ever happened.

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  • #
    Tom G(ologist)

    Congratualtions Joanne – you made it onto Climate Debate Daily.

    Tom

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  • #
    suec

    I actually sort of like the term “skeptic” – I think it indicates an ability to make a critical assessment of the evidence. It is a much, much better term than “denier”. I have never called myself a denier, but am proud to wear the “skeptic” label.

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  • #

    Me too suec. Lets reclaim the real meaning of skeptic.

    My only hesitation with it is that the die-hard skeptics (the ones who professionally debunk astrologers, god, ufo’s, and paranormal stuff) can be a bit hard to live with. Not that I believe in astrology and so on, but there’s a point where skepticism becomes it’s own religion. They ‘prove’ ghosts don’t exist, but heck, Popper knows, sometimes we just don’t … know…

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  • #
    Hound dog

    “Not that I believe in astrology and so on, but there’s a point where skepticism becomes it’s own religion.”

    There’s also a point where science becomes it’s own religion. Many self-described skeptics are die-hard AGW’ers because they put absolute faith in what they perceive to be mainstream science, without considering that science can be corrupted, even on a large scale.

    Consider the science forum at The Skeptics Guide to the Universe, where AGW skeptics are treated with great suspicion.

    http://www.theskepticsguide.org/

    or specifically

    http://skepchick.org/skepticsguide/index.php?PHPSESSID=15a5c6ee5d3a82a0a6c30132bb8ab804&board=2.0

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    Brian Valentine

    I would say there is better evidence for ESP than there is for “man-made” global warming, Joanne.

    As to the former – there occasionally appears (possibly post hoc) evidence for it – for the latter, none.

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  • #
    Steve Meikle

    I never beleved in human caused global warming at all (and i have always disdained cool or chic). I knew from my reading of history that climate fluctuated without human intervention, always has and presumably always will.

    Interesting, that I, a mere musician who reads history for enjoyment, should be protected from madness by said reading. In just the same way i was not taken in by Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code either.

    THis all helps my contention that the myopia too many scientists are prone to MUST be countered by the arts and the humanities in university campuses

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  • #
    Hound dog

    Well said, Steve Meikle!

    I suspect that many scientists have a deep understanding of nature, but a shallow understanding of human nature.

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  • #
    Eddie

    Joanne Nova: “…soon after it becomes cool to join in, it will then shift quickly to the next phase – the “yeah, it was always obvious really.”

    Hi Joanne. In the article above you say: “History will record this cold northern winter as the season when being known as a skeptic became scientifically hip…”

    Assuming that “hip” is a synonym for “cool”, it seems we are now at the cool phase. So when you say “[the cool phase] will shift quickly to the next phase — the “yeah, it was always obvious really”, how quickly do you think the shift will occur?

    Will the shift happen within, say, three months, six months? Will AGW be all over by Christmas?

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    [insult with no point of logic or reason. deleted... ]

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  • #
    Jim Creighton

    I think we are witnessing a “paradigm shift” as described by Thomas Kuhn in “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions”. He wrote that when scientific paradigms change (e.g,, from an Earth centred solar system to a Sun centred solar system), change is preceded by acrimonious debate, accusations and insults. When the weight of a new theory and supporting data is great enough, he said, a tipping point is reached where there is a wholesale movement to a new paradigm, amid protestations of the like quoted above. It’s a normal example in the history of science. Deja vu, all over again.

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  • #
    Tom G(ologist)

    Jim – very true. I am a geologiost who is only 53 years old (tomorrow) and I can still remember from early in my career the vitriolic slings and arrows over plate tectonics, which persisted into the earliest ’80s despite the fact that the establishing papers and pardigm shift from the ‘old geology’ occurred from around 1968-1972. And that was all preceded by about 45 years of just plain pig-headed refusal to listen to the correct conclusions of Alfred Wegener from 1928-1930. There were entire symposia held by such august bodies as the American ASsociation of Petroleum Geologists focused solely on trying to show how Wegener was wrong. The problem was that no matter how many times they denied that Wegener just couldn’t be correct (he was long dead by then) the topic kept coming up year after year after year because they had NO EVIDENCE to support their position and the poor little dead meteorolgist Wegener DID.

    What I have taken away from that history is that when someone is really a crackpot and there hypothesis has no merit, it is very easy to dismiss them. When someone has something which is close to the truth but far away from ‘received wisdom’ there is a loud, active and poisonous backlash.

    So, do we see an analogy?

    Tom

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  • #
    cmb

    None other than James Hansens former supervisor at NASA has just announced that not only is he a skeptic, but that Hansen is an embarrassment to NASA and was never muzzled.

    – But was never, ever James Hansen’s supervisor in any way. lol

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  • #
    Mike Davis

    CMB:
    I think you may be slighty mistaken using terms such as “never ever” and “in any way”.
    Please provide proof of that assumption/guess?
    “I was, in effect, Hansen’s supervisor because I had to justify his funding, allocate his resources, and evaluate his results”
    You are calling this person a liar. Where is your proof?
    I was a supervisor for a large corporation once and what he described was a part of my duties also. However any one of my employees would have been terminated the second time they made unfounded pronouncements. The first time they would have been warned as they had already signed an ethics clause when hired.

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  • #
    Brian Valentine

    Whatever the relation, it is evident that people went away from NASA and did not carry high esteem for Hansen with them.

    And evidently, we’re not looking at a “disgruntled employee” syndrome.

    When a person comes out of retirement to say Hansen is a poseur, there must be some good reason for it. Few people will stick their necks out to potentially tarnish their own reputations.

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  • #
    Jim Creighton

    - Tom G
    Yes, plate tectonics is a textbook example of a paradigm shift. Interesting to hear from someone who was “there”. Of course, there is more to lose this time around. There are not just academic reputations and careers at stake, we’ll have powerful corporate and political interests on the line. If AGW theory proves to be a lot of hot air there will be many losers who will resist. However, if because of a quiet solar cycle, or some other cycle(s), we slip into a mini-ice age, there won’t be many believers left.

    Just for fun, what could we call a new mini-ice age? I suggest: “Millennium Minimum”.)

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  • #
    Tom G(ologist)

    I think for maximum irony we could call it the Hansen Minimum or perhaps the “Gore Glacial Epoch”

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    Eddie

    Tom (G): “…the vitriolic slings and arrows over plate tectonics, which persisted into the earliest ’80s despite the fact that the establishing papers and pardigm shift from the ‘old geology’ occurred from around 1968-1972.”

    Yes. One could apply the same analogy to AGW, where the scientific shift from the older ‘natural variation’ climate model to AGW began in the 1990s, but we are still seeing controversy.

    Since AGW also involves economic and political changes the debate is much fiercer, but the often the period of greatest resistance is when the paradigm is reaching tipping point, as now seems to be happening at a political level in the US.

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    Tom G(ologist)

    I hope you are correct. I hate politics in the U.S., and can’t stand either party here and I hope something happens quickly because the combination of president and congress is ripe for going down the expensive but useless route. I didn’t like the last administration here either, but I used to really piss people off by noting the silver lining to the dark cloud – we did not enter Kyoto under Bush Jr. (I also used to piss off Bush supporters by wearing very prominently a button whcih stated “Doing my best to piss off the religious right.”

    And this nonsense did start before the 90s. I remember in 1988 Outside magazine running an article that the 10,000 Lakes district of Minnesota would be dry in 20 years and all the great canoeing would vanish.. off course because of AGW. So here we are, 21 years later and… the 10,000 Lakes are still very wet. I think the article concluded with a way to send $$$$ to combat the threat.

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    Tom G(ologist)

    Eddie:

    It was really ridiculous that as late as 1983, Anita Harris, a well respected geologist from Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory, was still referring to younger geologists as “The Plate Tectonics Boys” as a derogatory epithet. By then, the second generation of tectonically trained geologist (this group includes me – BS 1978 then grad school) were out in the world using the new theory to not only explain just about everything, but to improve exploration for every natural resource based on tectonic models.

    But the sad thing is that the AGW scientists think that they are the next “Tectonics Boys” – that we are the Anita Harrises, stuck in the old paradigm and that theirs is the new way – Matt said something like that in another thread here when he equated AGW scietists with the Newtons, Galileos and Einsteins of the world – people with the paradigm gear shift lever firmly in their hands.

    The difference is that tectonics was consistent with virtually all data, explained things which were previously unexplainable, was the basis of new ways to think about the world and new experiments which confirmed the theory, and the predictive models made CORRECT predictions! When AGW has that kind of track record, it WILL BE time for the paradigm shift.

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    Brian Valentine

    AGW is a belief based upon faith, with some bogus “science” thrown in to add an air of respectability to it.

    Those who are convinced of it – there is no changing their minds. They will point to a thousand “peer-reviewed” studies that purport to demonstrate it conclusively (reviewed by each other, of course).

    My only hope for salvation from it is – by and large, the public won’t swallow the idea or its consequences; thereby leaving it irrelevant to business and commerce. We’re already seeing this happen on the European continent – “going green” is not something any economy can afford and politicians are not prepared to deal with sequential “French Revolutions.”

    Which is exactly what they’ll get if they keep it up.

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    Eddie

    Tom (G): “But the sad thing is that the AGW scientists think that they are the next “Tectonics Boys”…

    Or “Team Hockey”. But if the previous climate paradigm was ‘natural variation’, and the new one is AGW, then the plate tectonics analogy seems pretty much right. The various other explanations being offered for climate change are types of natural variation and thus belong to the previous paradigm.

    Of course, whether or not AGW is consistent with the data is a matter of scientific judgement, but if by ‘paradigm’ is meant something like ‘worldview’, then I don’t think there’s any doubt that we’re going such a shift, and that it’s towards AGW.

    The interesting thing about the concept of the paradigm is that two people with differing worldviews can view the same set of facts and come to different conclusions.

    For example, the current flurry of activity by sceptics can be seen as a “turning point” away from AGW. Equally, it can be seen as a rearguard action by people who sense that the new paradigm is taking over.

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    Steve Meikle

    Incidentally one thing that does worry me is this: when the Soviet Union went belly up American Imperialism got full of itself and its malign project for an American Century, and its crimes in Iraq etc is the result. Likewise, when the fraud fantasy and scam that is AGW is exposed I imagine that the big polluters will have a field day, think they are vindicated and embark on a veritable orgy of destruction of the environment. FOr though I have lost all respect for the Greens for holding their absurd quasi relgious doctrine of AGW , yet i am something of a moderate green in sympathy, and fear the reaction once the AGW scare is over

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    MattB

    Jo – given you only signed up as a sceptic about 2 years ago surely devout sceptics will see through your charade and out you as a Jonny-come-lately fashion follower, like the rest of us should your 2019 prediction be true. In fact the only people who deserve the credit are those who always thought AGW was bunkum… and when you look at the hard science you’ll soon realise that those guys are religious deniers who just happend to fluke it for a change.

    As you and David say “when the science changes, so do I” (paraphrased)… so surely you roundly endorse all thouse who would change by 2019 as the science changes;)

    To The Engineer at 1 (and Steve @34): If you are a life long contrarian then you should say you’d have to become a warmie AGAIN, as the AGW-sceptical viewpoint has only recently become contrarian. If you’ve actually always thought AGW was bunkum then you cannot have been a life-long contrarian.

    And Jo at 3 – I think that is unfair – I think it is perfectly valid for a generally sceptical person to at present believe the AGW proposition. I know I’m sceptical about a lot of things.

    And re: post 13: Jo my tip is that you not champion AGW-scepticism by pointing out that next on the list are HIV and lung cancer lol:) PR ALERT!!!!

    Tom @ 22… why have you never worried about posts like “AGW is a religion”…. because you may just suddenly find a lot of wacky fundamentalists saying “well what is wrong with a religion!!!”… the last thing you guys need is to alienate the religious right!

    Tom @47: glad you were reading attentitively. But what I was really showing is that you can spin the galileos, or the emperors new clothes, or the finger in the dyke, or king canute, to both sides of the debate if you feel like it.

    Anyway guys I’ll be sure to post here when I join your camp… it will be noteworthy as it will indicate that the science is actually in that direction rather than a bunch of hocus pocus mumbo jumbo you cling to at present;) Don’t hold your breath;)

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    MattB

    Wow steve @50, are you suggesting that the big polluters have a vested interest in debunking AGW…. and would do ANYTHING they can to usher in a new era of being able to “embark on a veritable orgy of destruction of the environment.”

    who’d've thunk it!!!!

    also… have you also lost faith in the ALP and the Libs for their quasi religious positions on AGW:)

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    Phillip Bratby

    Matt B:

    It would help if you were to explain to what hocus pocus mumbo jumbo science you are referring.

    Do you not believe in the science of natural climate change; ocean behaviour, the effect of clouds, the effect of the sun etc?

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    MattB

    Phil you can take your pick… there are so many variations on the theme it is a lot to cover… but I wan’t being “scientific” with that mumbo jumbo comment – I hope my post was taken with the good nature it was intended with. Nearly all my best mates are ardent AGW sceptics so I can’t get too vitriolic;)

    Can you explain which variations of those 4 you are asking about?

    But in order: of course, of course, of course, to some extent with an open mind to potential developments in the cosmic ray area of which I’m highly sceptical at present (would you want it any other way?). I can’t imagine that differs much from Hansen.

    Id suggest you don;t believe in those 4… after all they are climate science.

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    Mike Davis

    MattB:
    It seems that the difference is some think CO2 causes changes in natural cycles. Where others think that natural cycles plus humans causes changes in CO2 but CO2 is a mere bit player if at all involved in the cause syndrome.I have yet to see verifiable proof of the first only guesses and agreement. (GOBC)* syndrome is currently evident in climate science.
    *Good Old Boys Club

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    Steve Meikle

    I gave no evidence that i was a contrarian. I based my rejection of Human Caused Global warming on some little trivial thing called evidence.

    And as for the motive of Big Oil to oppose Human Caused Global Warming, well I despise their motive, but the truth or falsity of any opinion rests not in the motive for the beliefving but in the evidence.

    Are we so addicted to name calling here as to have forgotten this?

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    Mike Davis

    JoNova:
    I see your article at SPPI. Just a FYI. OH BTW I do agree!

    Steve Meikle:
    There has been evidece floating around that contradicts the belief that BIG OIL opposes AGW theory.It seems there might be evidence of BIG OIL and MINING supporting advocates of AGW.

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    Brian Valentine

    Oh, a number of major oil companies support professors who are AGW advocates. Not specifically for “climate” studies, per se, but for “new technology” introduction and planning, that kind of thing.

    By the way – out of all terms to call myself, I like “denier” the best.

    Actually I don’t “deny” AGW or anything else: I REJECT it completely.

    On the other hand, no one would necessarily know what I meant if I called myself a “rejecter”

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    MattB

    Well Mike I’ve yet to see any evidence to change my position on AGW either, and I’m comfortable with the scientific rigour and process and conclusions presented. I have no doubt whatsoever tyhere is dodgy science on the AGW side of things, but certainly no more so than the majority of the clap trap on the skeptical side. I’m surprised that Jo never speaks out when she reads absolute bulldust posted by skeptics on this site. Being a skeptic does not mean to support all the arguments of skeptics… especially those that are scientifically bizarre.

    You are right the side of big oil is irrelevent, as is the side of the UN. But I do feel that many believers hate Big Oil… and many skeptics hate the UN and one world government, and in essence that is the root of their belief/disbelief, and they adopt whatever semi plausible science backs them up.

    Brian I think that the chic term will be adopted from the classic Pixies song Debaser, and the a new movement of pro science, anti “denier”, anti “believer” DEBASERS will grow to fill the void – replacing quasi religious atheism and blind scepticism – alienating the ignorant extremists on both sides.

    I wanna be, be a debaser.

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    MattB

    Also just for the record I’d like to para-quote this site in regards to taking heart in some “eminent” scientists jumpig ship:

    “Science is not a democracy, and natural laws don’t form because some scientists sign a petition.”

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    Brian Valentine

    Remarkable how rare it is to hear of some “notable” going the other way in their convictions, don’t you think, Matt?

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    MattB

    Everyone notable is already on the bandwagon I’m afraid Brian. But lets face it between 1990 and 2008 a hell of a lot more came over than headed back.

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    Brian Valentine

    Assuming these people were guided by the logic of their convictions, I would say that the rationale must be fairly convincing.

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    cmb

    Mike Davis:
    February 3rd, 2009 at 1:54 am
    CMB:
    I think you may be slighty mistaken using terms such as “never ever” and “in any way”.
    Please provide proof of that assumption/guess?
    “I was, in effect, Hansen’s supervisor because I had to justify his funding, allocate his resources, and evaluate his results”
    You are calling this person a liar. Where is your proof?

    – Easily found. It is not my job to google common sense for you. BTW, google this – Theon’s been gone from NASA for 15 years. =)

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    Mike Davis

    CMB:
    The fact he left that position was stated in the article. As he is currently retired he should be permited to come forth with historic facts. As Hansen has made himself a outstanding public figure with his words. He has brought this upon himself. The pedestal he has been placed seems to be crumbling.

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    Tom G(ologist)

    Matt:

    “Everyone notable is already on the bandwagon”??????

    Hardly – A very simple internet search is all that is necessary to show that is not true. So I need say no more, except I could point you once again to the list of 31,000 scientists with MSs and/or PhDs in relevant fields who would not agree that they are not notable and are defintely NOT on the ASGW bandwagon.

    Such broad, sweeping statements do not contribute to the discussion

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    MattB

    Tom – you even misrepresent the Oregon petition, that already does a pretty good job of misrepresenting itself. In fact your statement bears less connection to reality than the oft criticised comment that 4000 endorsed IPCC

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    Tom G(ologist)

    Matt:

    ????????

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    Tom G(ologist)

    Matt: My comment is not to promote any kind of consensus nonsense. Rather it is to point out that your sanctimonious statement that anyone who actually is anyone is an AGW maven and if you’re not, you’re a persona non-gratis. I think you are behind the times if that is really what you think.

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    Steve Meikle

    Chic be damned. If they are becoming skeptics because of chic then they are sheep

    [ Ah Steve, you can't become A Skeptic because of 'chic' - only a Pseudoskeptic. -JoNova]

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    MattB

    Ok Tom… but for the record the Oregon petition is not restricted to PhDs and MScs. And certainly not required to be relevent in any way to climate science.

    There really are not many “notables” on the list though… a few hundred I read. I have at least a dozen mates with PhDs, and I’d not consider them “notable” on climate change. I’d certainly not consider myself notable on climate change, but I could easily become a signatory to an equivalent but opposing petition if I wanted I guess.

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    MattB

    not that 200 is that bad:)

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    First time commentor but long time reader. Excellent blog you have going here, where is your RSS feed?

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    Brian Valentine

    Rather would I see “chic” skeptics than nauseating sycophancy to Al Gore and his ilk – brainless demands to demolish civilisation and pledges to remove their dependency on toilet tissue etc –

    Such idiocy is positively painful and it makes my teeth ache.

    In fact I think parts of the AGW analysis are correct! What has happened, however, is that large damping influences on the climate have been neglected, making the influence of CO2 below the level of noise, and this CO2 influence has never, and will never, be observed, and I think this will all come to light in due time.

    Not soon enough for me, however.

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    Mike Davis

    It seems that the team is currently doing a very good job of foot in mouth dancing. The outcome could be interesting. I think they may even believe what they are saying!

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    Anne-Kit Littler

    To Tom (and a couple of others) Tom, I have been following the various threads on Jo’s site for a long time, contributing sporadically. I enjoy your learned contributions immensely and have great respect for your knowledge as a scientist. Incidentally we are the same age – I turned 53 on Christmas Day … I am not a scientist, just a concerned citizen of above average intelligence with a tertiary degree in languages.

    I am a staunch climate skeptic, or realist, and my skepticism is completely based on the lack of scientific proof for the theory, coupled with good old common sense. I am amazed how many well educated people have fallen hook line and sinker for this nonsense! I have a good friend (she’s a teacher …) who told me she thought we needed to cut back on “this stuff” (C02) anyway because it’s poisonous to inhale … when I pointed out to her she was probably getting C0 mixed up with C02 she was quite embarrassed.

    I digress. What I really wanted to say is that as well as being a climate skeptic I am also a practising, church-going Christian. In reference to a couple of your comments I am saddened when non-religious people tend to lump all Christian believers together in one group that they call “the religious right” or “Christian fundamentalists” or “anti-evolution nutters” (I realise these are not all your descriptions).

    We Christians are not all the same. Christianity and science are not incompatible, and there are a number of well-written books on that subject. Notable is “The Language of God” by American physicist-geneticist Francis Collins, who is the leader of the Human Genome Project.

    Contrary to the belief of many non-religious people not all Christians shun worldly affairs and study only God’s Word. I am an avid student of everything from science to current affairs, to literature etc. Heck, I read all the Harry Potter books and loved them ;-)

    Not all of us believe that Earth is only 6000 years old (that’s a denominational doctrine – I belong to one of the many non-denominational churches) We may tend towards the conservative spectrum politically, although I have many friends at church who vote Labor …

    On the other hand, many, many well-meaning Christians have joined the AGW band wagon (google “Evangelical Call to Action”) which is worrying.

    I’m sorry for going off-subject, Joanne, but I felt the need to set the record straight on behalf of many of my faith.

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    MattB

    So Anne… you are a staunch sceptic based on lack of scientific proof AND a Christian??? How do you reconcile the two? lol just being a pain.

    I’m not sure what you mean by denominational doctrine vs non denominational? As an ex catholic I can tell you Catholics certainly don;t believe earth is 6000 years old… sorry for going off topic I just wanted to se thte record straight on behalf of many of the faith I used to be a part of.

    But lets fact it, if there is no evidence for AGW, there is precious little for evolution.

    p.s. proof is a mathematical term, you can’t prove most science.

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    Steve Meikle

    I am another of these christians who reject AGW because of science done soundly. How to harmonize them (science and faith) would take a book to explain, but the dichotomy of the two held in modern minds is a false one, when you see that the rational evidence in the natural world must point to a creator.

    the idea that becoming a christian means throwing away your brain is a false one also, but rational thinking has me look at the unacknowledged philosophical presuppostions of most so called “science” (science is a mixed bad not a pure endeavour) and lead sme to reject much that postures as knowlege (latin scientia, the root for science).

    not only that but the majority of scientists back in the classic days of the 17th century were either christians or theists.

    I enjoyed the Harry Potter movies (but prefer reading history); I utterly oppose the religious right on biblical grounds, i am a labour voter because for all its sins it is slightly better on moral grounds than the greed party of the Right Wing; and yes, i hold that science done properly (and evolution is not proper science but an irrational inference) yields results compatible with a 6000 year old earth; and i have an interest in philosophy and a passion for theology. so to stereotype christians as brain dead religious fanatics is a straw man fallacy.

    indeed anti intellectualism is a sin for it refuses to love god with the mind, which is part of the greatest commandment

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    cmb

    Tom G(ologist):
    February 6th, 2009 at 12:25 am
    Matt:

    “Everyone notable is already on the bandwagon”??????

    Hardly – A very simple internet search is all that is necessary to show that is not true. So I need say no more, except I could point you once again to the list of 31,000 scientists with MSs and/or PhDs in relevant fields

    – No such list actually exists. You refer to the Oeregon Petition, a warmed-over OISM hoax from the 90′s, created through a fraudulent mailing and populated with fakes.

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    cmb

    Mike Davis:
    February 5th, 2009 at 4:21 am
    CMB:
    The fact he left that position was stated in the article. As he is currently retired he should be permited to come forth with historic facts.”

    – If only he were doing so. Again, he was never Hansen’s supervisor in any way, the proof is easy to find and conclusively shows he is lying.

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    Chris Noble

    Creationists have been predicting the imminent collapse of the evolution “paradigm” for over a hundred years.

    http://home.entouch.net/dmd/moreandmore.htm

    Likewise, HIV Denialists have been predicting the imminent collapse of the HIV “paradigm” for more than two decades.

    I suspect that this overconfidence arises from the habit of people surrounding themselves with others who share the same beliefs. This form of group think leads to self-delusion.

    Creationists and HIV Denialists also create lists of “rethinkers”
    http://aras.ab.ca/rethinkers.php
    http://www.dissentfromdarwin.org/scientists/

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    Chris Noble:

    What I love about the ‘conspiracy theory’ theory of climate scepticism is that, unlike the conspiracy theories you mention and, of course, hundreds of others,climate scepticism has ‘closure’. The globe is going to get hotter or cooler whatever a group of conspiracy theorists think and at the moment the evidence would seem to indicate that in this particular argument the global warming alarmists are the conspiracy theorists – would you agree with this?

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    Chris Noble

    Stuart Huggett:

    No.

    HIV Denialists, AGW “skeptics”, and Evolution Denialists all come up with remarkably similar justifications/conspiracy theories to explain why their views are not accepted by the majority of scientists.

    This goes hand-in-hand with the idea that the AGW “paradigm”, the HIV “paradigm” or the Evolution “paradigm” are on the verge of collapse. The only thing that is supposedly holding back this collapse is the vested interests of the “orthodox” scientists who don’t want to lose their fat paychecks.

    The “closure” for the HIV Denialists who are HIV+ normally comes much earlier than the possible effects of AGW. Nevertheless HIV Denialism still persists partly due to the steady stream of the newly infected who desperately want to pretend that HIV is not a deadly virus.

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    Chris Noble:

    Excellent!

    The point of this post by Jo Nova is that there is an increasing number of scientists who are becoming sceptics, numbers are not known, but if this trend continues then at a tipping point – which may already have been and gone – will be reached at which time the AGW people will become the conspiracy theorists – you can already see this trend in the increasingly desperate and irrational statements emitting from the extremists. Hopefully this will all result in the acquisition of some very interesting sociological data.

    Roll on closure – the current solar minimum might well bring this on quicker than expected…

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    Chris Noble

    Stuart:

    The HIV Denialists and the Evolution Denialists say exactly the same thing.

    There is always an increasing number of scientists who doubt that HIV causes AIDS or that evolution explains the diversity of life. They are always predicting a turning point after which only a minority will believe in HIV or evolution. The HIV Denialists also view any strong criticism of their movement as a sign they are on the right track. Why else would health authorities spend time addressing them if they weren’t onto the truth? Perhaps because people die after falling for their Denialism?

    You should spend a bit more time looking at HIV Denial and Evolution Denial if you want to understand the sociology of this type of movement.

    According to the latest figures the number of scientists who doubt AGW is up to ~650.
    http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Minority.Blogs&ContentRecord_id=2158072e-802a-23ad-45f0-274616db87e6

    It is worth mentioning that 5 of these are also on the Evolution Denial list and another 5 are on the HIV Denial list.

    I don’t think that the overlap is coincidental.

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    Chris,

    all of your reasoning is a useless dead end.

    “You should spend a bit more time looking at HIV Denial and Evolution Denial if you want to understand the sociology of this type of movement.”

    To paraphrase…You should spend more time learning logic and reason. Try the ancient Greeks.

    The Climate IS what it IS, and that has nothing to do with opinions of people. Any discussion of who is on or off the list only serves to prove points about ‘the list’, it never proves anything about the weather.

    Even if you managed to prove every single one of the 650 scientists on the senate list were clinically insane or pathological liars, it doesn’t change the Hadley Met Centre graphs, or the Vostok ice cores.

    Joanne

    PS: Do you suppose, if we were to play this useless game of trivial-pointless-pursuit that we wouldn’t also be able to come up with 5 names of AGW believers who were E’Gad… also evolution deniers, and HIV doubters too? And if we did – what would that prove? (That we were as confused about logic and reason as you are.)

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    Chris Noble

    Joanne,

    My point is very simple.
    It is foolish to point to these sort of lists and claim that the turning point is just around the corner or has already been passed. Ignore this advice at your own peril.

    PS. Don’t pretend that you have the monopoly on logic and reason.

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    Chris – I don’t pretend I have a monopoly. Anytime, you are free to whip me with evidence; knock me down with a cutting connection; or show how I’m wrong. Go for it…

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    cmb

    [snipped - claim of a hoax with no substantiation]

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    I find this debate interesting because it is not actually dealing with the science – it is dealing with the public’s perception of the science. I have a sense that a ‘tipping point’ in this debate was reached just before Christmas last year. Before that if you were a sceptic you tended to keep quiet about it. After that point you were able to talk freely. On the other side you found the alarmist becoming more defensive and the extremists shrill and (more) abusive. The evidence does seem to point to wards the sceptic view being the majority view from a wide variety of indicators.

    Now the REALLY interesting thing about this is that this is happening in spite of 90% of the mainstream press supporting the AGW view and suppressing the sceptic view, most of the leading science journals supporting it, most of our political leaders supporting it and a general blackout on scepticism. Why is this? This is why I think there is some interesting sociological research potential here – in my #85 above and this is why the theme of this thread is captivating….

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    Brian Valentine

    My name is among the 650 cited above.

    I have studied the AGW issue since September, 1987 on behalf of the US Department of Energy.

    In all the information I have examined, I have not seen evidence that connected CO2 with “climate change” excepting from computer simulation that neglected innumerable factors that would obscure the apparent relation between cause and effect of climate change. That is, the effect of CO2 on the atmosphere is there – but cannot be observed amidst the noise of influences continually present and which may change the apparent climate on an annual, decade, and century basis.

    Any apparent relation between CO2 and climate arises from the emotions of the observer and nothing more.

    It isn’t possible for me to turn the tide of beliefs single handedly – but I very much appreciate Joanne Nova’s sharing of critical analysis of this issue with the general public.

    Very few individuals endeavoring to make science meaningful to children have taken such a critical approach.

    Brian G Valentine
    Washington, DC USA

    Happy Valentine’s Day – this celebration apparently arising from the actions of one of my distant ancestors is not beloved by everyone.

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    cmb

    http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Minority.Blogs&ContentRecord_id=2158072e-802a-23ad-45f0-274616db87e6

    http://www.heartland.org/policybot/results/23387/30000_Scientists_Sign_Petition_on_Global_Warming.html

    Both of these links constitute Arguments From Authority as defined on this blog, and if moderation is to be equitable should not be allowed here. They both specifically violate the blog’s rules of evidence as enumerated on its page devoted to same. http://joannenova.com.au/2008/10/30/what-is-evidence/

    [JoNova writes: Nope. When you manage to get the rest of the world to stop using argument by authority, then we'll stop responding to it, to prove that it is both illogical AND wrong.

    Read the disclaimer I added to the site (at the top). This page aims to do nothing more than discuss the fashionableness of AGW vs Scepticism. If I had said "these names prove x,y,z about the climate I'd be guilty as charged. But I don't. ]

    They are also both hoaxes, and evidence of that fact floods the internet.

    Oil state Senator Inhofe’s list:

    [snip long list of links with no summary, no reasoning. Its rude to expect us to do your arguments for you by reading 100,000 words. You tell us why they are not legitimate. Try REALLY hard not to use ad hom attacks.]

    Industry mouthpiece Heartland Institute’s (actually, OISM’s warmed-over Oregon Petition) list:

    [more lazy links snipped... cmb. as a courtesy, I've emailled all the links in the unedited comment. Show us you can think and analyze, not just google. If you resort to ad homs against anyone, I will snip your flawed reason unless you can explain what no one else has in the last 2000 years, why it's a legitimate form of reasoning.]

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    Chris Noble

    Joanne,
    It doesn’t matter how many people sign a list of scientists who doubt evolution. It doesn’t change reality.

    It doesn’t matter how many people sign a list of scientists who doubt that HIV causes AIDS. It doesn’t change reality.

    It doesn’t matter how many people sign a list of scientists who doubt AGW. It doesn’t change reality.

    The real question is – what is the motivation for putting these lists together? It isn’t to convince the scientists who actually work in these fields.

    Note that HIV Deniers and Evolution Deniers also claim that the evidence supports their position.

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    Brian Valentine

    Chris Noble, your remarks are wearisome.

    By the same line of reasoning, it DOESN’T MATTER how many have “signed on” to the AGW agenda; what matters is why YOU have concluded that the AGW idea is true.

    Those reasons are:

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    Steve Meikle

    The “reasoning” here is degenerating to ad numeram fallacy (the idea that an idea is tue or not because of the numbers of people believing it). This is of course a fallacy, hence the formal latin title for it as one of the fallacies listed in the ruleds of logic.

    And of course there is ad hominem, attacking the person rather than the logic or the facts of the position. THere is too much of that here.

    Likewise the fallacy of thew straw man – mischaracterizing the opposition into something it is not: in this case the need to view the other side as needing to invoke or create conspiracy theories. such accounting for the error of the opposition of course does not prove them wrong. to think it does is usually to assume the truth of your own position then argue from it in an attempt to prove the opposition wrong, which is to beg the question or in formal terms the fallacy “petitio principii” (lit petition the principle).

    so lets drop the useless ranting, or some of us will get bored and unsubscribe

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    Steve Meikle

    it is literally and precisely true that the number of those who signed on for AGW (or who oppose it) is IRRELEVANT.

    Get over it, stop using such useless appeals to numbers (ad numeram) and give us some reasoned evidence.

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    “The real question is – what is the motivation for putting these lists together? It isn’t to convince the scientists who actually work in these fields.”

    No, it’s to address all the false claims of ‘consensus’. (And it’s not the ‘real’ question, it’s just another politico-socio sideline.)

    “Note that HIV Deniers and Evolution Deniers also claim that the evidence supports their position.”

    Ohmigod! This is it. The AGW crowd also claim the evidence supports their position. Wow. Finally! Proof that they’re all wrong, AGW, HIV deniers, AND IDer’s…o-except it’s flawed logic, once again, a waste of binary code.

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    Bruce

    Looks the lists may become superfluous anyway due to the death of carbon trading in Europe.

    http://emissionstrading.blogspot.com/

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    Chris Noble

    The HIV Deniers and Evolution Deniers say the same thing about their lists. They also attack the the false “consensus” that HIV causes AIDS and the false “consensus” that evolution explains the diversity of life.

    Is there a consensus that HIV causes AIDS or does the existence of their list make it a false “consensus”?

    I agree that it it is a socio-politico sideline. Then why spend so much time denying that there is a consensus or alternatively claiming that it doesn’t matter anyway?

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    Come on people – get with the subject! Two big questions:

    1. Apart from opinion polls how do we monitor public opinion on issues such as this? All of us who read blogs, papers, watch TV etc., etc., get a sense of the way in which opinion is flowing but it would be good to pin this down systematically.

    2. How is it that public opinion can change like this in the face of such fierce and determined opposition.

    In fact I am sure that there are spinmeisters in the world’s major capitals who know the answers to these questions – or do they only think they do?

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    John Elliot

    in reply to Chris Noble who wrote:
    >I agree that it it is a socio-politico sideline. Then >why spend so much time denying that there is a consensus
    >or alternatively claiming that it doesn’t matter anyway?

    Because those who support AGW claim the truth of the issue has been decided by “consensus”. This refrain has been taken up by the media, politicians and all those who have their snouts in the trough for taxapayer money. By trumpeting a “consensus” the tactic is to try and convince the public that desperate measures must be taken to combat the AGW menace. It is not so long ago that the supporters of AGW were attempting to occupy the high ground with claims of a consensus. Now that it is clearly apparent that large numbers of scientists do not believe in AGW you wish to argue that a consensus does not matter. You seem to support AGW and no doubt it would suit your purpose admirably to be able to claim that there are no scientists in dispute.

    It is quite true that as far as the truth of the science is concerned a consensus is a sideline. However, the political decisions that will determine the outcome of the current debate rely in large part on which “consensus” the voters believe.

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    Chris Noble

    Stuart asks: 2. How is it that public opinion can change like this in the face of such fierce and determined opposition.

    How is it possible for the public opinion about MMR to change so much that vaccine coverage has dropped to low levels?

    Has vaccine “skepticism” become chic?

    How is it possible for the public acceptance of evolution in the US to be so low despite the “fierce and determined” opposition from “orthodox” scientists.

    It has absolutely nothing to do with the science.

    These lists of “doubting scientists” are great rhetorical devices for a) impressing a lay-audience and b) fooling yourself that a “paradigm shift” is imminent but they are scientifically meaningless.

    Chris, we’re getting a tired of this. 1. This thread is not about vaccines or evolution. They have no effect on the climate. Please don’t keep posting irrelevant material. 2. Most people here know that ‘lists’ don’t prove anything about the science (and this post was not trying to do that). Don’t keep repeating the obvious. It’s been said already.

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    [snip: more commentary about lists of scientists and vaccines and HIV. Irrelevant topic. Irrelevant reasoning.]

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    Joanne,
    Why go on about the list if it is irrelevant?
    Why get excited by the addition of an astronaut?
    Why go on about AGW “skepticism” being “chic”?

    The whole thread is irrelevant.

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    Chris

    This thread is NOT irrelevant.

    If the politicians’ spinmeisters knew what they were doing then global warming and the other things you mention would be believed and a lovely ‘consensus’ would exist. But it doesn’t. What is going on? Or, to turn Joanne’s statement around, why is it becoming chic to be a sceptic?

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    Stuart this is what I don’t understand.

    Joanne has confirmed that these lists do not prove anything about the science. You on the other hand seem to be implying that the existence of these lists does prove something.

    Look here are 650 scientists who aren’t convinced that increases in atmospheric CO2 are responsible for part of the global temperature increases. If the science behind AGW is so strong then why isn’t there a consensus?

    No matter how much Joanne [ignores this irrelevant issue] this is the propaganda purpose of these type of lists. It is a propaganda tool.

    [So Chris is there anything I can say which isn't classed as propaganda, or does that perjorative term apply to all the demonstrably correct sentences I write?]

    Going against the grain has always been chic. It’s also mostly been wrong too.

    [JoNova says: Chic or not, argumentum ad grainium or anti-grainium proves nothing.]

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    The timing of the theoretical ‘chic-turning point’ is probably forced by three factors:

    1/ It’s COLD in the northern Hemisphere. (Which is not scientifically a strong reason on it’s own, but people relate to it).
    2/ Governments threaten to take more money off us – that’s made people sit up and pay attention. The Garnaut report and a sympathetic Australian government suddenly made it seem much more real in Australia starting in July 08. News outlets became suddenly more open to hearing a different view point.
    3/ The credit crunch kills off silly ideas – it means no one has time or funding to do frivolous plans or follow paths that just make them ‘feel-good’.

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    Joanne,
    none of these three reasons for the supposed chic status of AGW skepticism should make you happy.

    1) Confusion between weather and climate.
    2) Distrust of authority.
    3) The immediate financial crisis.

    If a cold northern winter make skepticism chic then what is going to happen if there is a hot northern summer?

    Of course people don’t want to hear about long term problems when they have immediate problems to deal with. Another word for this coping mechanism is denial.

    Thanks for making it clear that this has nothing to do with science.

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    Tom G(eologist)

    Anne:

    Thanks for the note. Please understand that if I wrote something which implied that all Christians can be painted with the same brush I sincerely apologize. After years in the evolution wars with fundamentalist, literalist, young-earth creationist types I might have become a little too callous in the way I make references to the religious objections I deal with to scientific issues.

    I have great respect for your religion – for anyone’s religion, but terrific disdain for anyone who chooses to hide behind religion, deny the world and then attempts to push their wolrd view on others, which is what I deal with frequently. I don’t care that there are young-earth creationists and their ilk. As long as they don’t try to shove it on my kids in school.

    I feel the same about any ideology, not just Chrsitianity, not just standard religious ideologies.

    So if I included all Christians in something I wrote (I honestly don’t remember such but I have written a lot so I accept your indignation as proof that I crossed a line) I once again extend apologies and the olive branch.

    Tom

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    “Another word for this coping mechanism is denial.”
    “Thanks for making it clear that this has nothing to do with science.”

    Anytime Chris. It looks like I can say anything and you’ll interpret it as another chance to repeat the word “denial” and tell us for the nth time “that it has nothing to do with science”.
    Unfortunately this blog is not here just to make one guy feel good drawing irrelevant connections from spurious associations, and misunderstood reasons. The religious chant: denial and ‘not science’ ends now, OK?

    For the sake of other posters here – do the Religion test – here. See if you can imagine, under any circumstances, how the AGW theory could possible be wrong. (But do it on THAT thread). IF you can’t imagine that, go find a blog to support your belief.

    As for your point about ‘making me happy’ – Sure I’d like it if everyone understood science and the scientific method and were protected from baseless scares, but the accidental reasons the crowd is suddenly watching the game are not as important as the score. Who’s got evidence?

    Notice how you twist the topic? I talk about the reasons for the ‘timing’ (read my post carefully) but you turn that into the science behind the topic (off thread yet again). It’s this kind of muddy thinking that got us so far from reality in the first place. Lift your standards.

    As for point 2) Not even close. In fact I’d be deliriously happy if I thought that was the reason. People trust governments too much. Point 2 and 3 are due to “wallet worries”.

    The cool weather / money fears are making people sit up and take notice. When they figure out there is no evidence left and a giant committee sold them a line, it won’t matter if we get a heatwave.

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    MattB

    If the financial issues are a problem people should pay more attention: http://www.thebigmoney.com/articles/hey-wait-minute/2009/02/11/surprise-economists-agree

    the cold is not scientific or statistically relevant – regardless of whether you think CO2 is important or not Jo you should still be crying out that the cold is irrelevant – if you claim to be about science and truth.

    You say you are happy to manipulate public perceptions of the science to achieve what you think is a good science outcome…. how are you any different than those you think are pulling the scam?

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    Anne-Kit Littler

    Thank you, Tom, you are a gentleman. I am happy to accept your olive branch. I shall continue to enjoy your posts.

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    Matt Matt Matt. Muddy thinkin’ strikes again. Read the Skeptics Handbook. The fact that it’s cold this winter doesn’t matter much, but the fact that the temperature hasn’t gone up since 2001 proves the climate models are a joke. NONE of them predicted the non-warming.

    And that in itself wouldn’t matter that much either IF there was some, any (!) evidence that man made CO2 affects the climate today. But the climate models are the only (non) evidence that AGW people keep quoting. In other words, there is not even non-evidence left…

    “You say you are happy to manipulate public perceptions of the science to achieve what you think is a good science outcome…. how are you any different than those you think are pulling the scam?”

    What makes me different is that never said anything even remotely like that. Plus I quote people direct, so I actually read what they say, and I don’t put words in their mouths. Go on Matt, try quoting me direct (like I do for you). You won’t be able to mis-comprehend me so easily. You’ve pulled that one out of a hat.

    I said this: “I’d like it if everyone understood science and the scientific method and were protected from baseless scares.”

    I post carefully, please do the same.

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    cmb

    [JoNova writes: "If you resort to ad homs against anyone, I will snip your flawed reason unless you can explain what no one else has in the last 2000 years, why it's a legitimate form of reasoning.]”

    I already explained that to you, Joanne.

    [Yes. Dull how it didn't convince me then, and it still doesn't]

    http://www.csun.edu/~dgw61315/fallacies.html#Argumentum%20ad%20hominem

    “It is always bad form to use the fallacy of argumentum ad hominem.

    [snip rest...repeated from comment 254 on another page. It's off topic and that long indulgent comment was a repeat, -it's already been discussed. It doesn't apply to hard science where we have thermometers anyway, it's legalistic, politico argument.]

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    cmb

    That does it – I’m done with the endless lies and anti-intellectual fantasies, and I’m done with enabling them through inaction.

    I think it’s time this Blog got a little more attention. =)

    [JoNova says: cmb - you could set up your own blog and attract the masses with your wit and wisdom. Good luck. ]

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    Brian Valentine

    Joanne Nova would probably be wealthy if she had a dollar for every (veiled and otherwise) threat posted on her site and elsewhere.

    I learned something valuable when I was ten years old. The Principal of my grammar school announced, he would not respond to messages that were not signed. He said no one should ever have any reason to do so.

    Brian G Valentine
    Arlington, Virginia USA

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    Brian G Valentine

    I’m going to interject here for the last time.

    The “hot spot” – may for ever go “missing” – as a matter of fact, there is a certain ambiguity of interpretation because, the mean free path of air molecules increases dramatically near the tropopause, and along with that, it becomes unclear how “temperature” should be interpreted.

    No matter. All the GCM are flawed. In every case I am aware of, if the feedback are adjusted so as to make temperatures come out correctly over a dacade peiod of history, say

    - the rainfall patterns come out wrong. That to me is the most serious drawback: because it means that the heat transfer of the atmosphere has been incorrectly accounted for. (I have tried to point that out to people but they marginalize it.)

    Anyway, the most comprehensive refutation of AGW is a well-known peer-reviewed source: the IPCC TAR and AR/4. The careful reading of this is replete with contradictions that point to exactly one conclusion: AGW has nothing to do with “climate change.”

    Enough for now, have a nice day.

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    I’ve deleted a comment that tried to ‘reason’ that because some people claim HIV and evolution are ‘religions’ “therefore our claims that AGW is a religion are also wrong”.
    This is flawed reasoning and a waste of time. I will delete all future comments with the words HIV or evolution on this thread.

    Sceptics discuss empirical evidence, but others search for the truth by analyzing statements for their motivations, intent, or seek to find patterns that will ultimately prove nothing.

    Understanding human motivations or delusions improves our understanding of the climate by exactly 0.00000%.

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    “It [accusations of 'religious faith'] is a silly rhetorical trick whether it is made by you or by anybody else.”

    Chis, Those who understand science know that this ‘rhetoric’ is the foundation for the definition of science versus religion. You are apparently not posting in the hope of learning something (If you were, you would have read and followed my link in #112 which would have answered this question before you asked it, and saved many of us from the imposition of yet another repetitious, already-answered, dull comment.) Since you have failed to make a point that wasn’t instantly proved irrelevant, or illogical, I ask that you refrain from posting until you understand what science is. This is a science blog and not a one-on-one tutoring session for indulgent overbearing remedial philosophy-of-science students.

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    [Deleted until Chris proves he can hold a science based polite discussion]

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    John Elliot

    Chris Noble: Your comments on this thread are repetitive and you seem to have nothing new to contribute.

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    John Elliot: I’ve just spent 45 minutes reading the posts on this blog and haven’t seen a contribution yet.

    You AGW deniers stay classy…

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    Bruce

    Mikatollah,

    What about post no 103 – or did you not reach that after 45 mins?

    You AGW supporters stay hysterical!

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    Eddie

    Back to “The Turning Point”. Joanne, some time back I asked how soon the shift to the “next phase” would occur, the one where people go: “yeah, it was always obvious really.”

    You say this should happen quickly. But how soon is quickly? Have we got, say, three months to become hip? Six months? A year? Or is it going to happen any day now?

    Hipness eluded me when young. Just for once, I desperately want to get ahead of the crowd.

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    Brian Valentine

    It’s already happening, Eddie baby!

    Just tell your friends & neighbors, “That AGW nomsense is crackpot”

    - you’ll get there.

    (sorry I said I wasn’t going to post any more here)

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    Bruce

    Here’s a few more lists to make us feel even more hip!

    http://www.hootervillegazette.com/GlobalWarming.html

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    Eddie

    Brian Valentine: “It’s happening already…”

    But where, Brian? Last month a man who once knew James Hansen declared himself a sceptic, and then a marketing man did the same. Not even a trickle, really, much less a flood. So when are we going to see unmistakable evidence of a turn?

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    Brian Valentine

    Why do you need to see a lot of other people be cool before you decide to be cool? >^. .^<

    You’ll see the whole river of beliefs change direction when:

    - Researcher grant money is no longer tied to the premise that AGW is correct

    - The Public decides that the weather is just the weather, and paying billions of dollars in tax money and higher prices across the board for everything really isn’t going to change that.

    I’m glad the Earth started to cool before a lot of these lunatic carbon reduction policies were enacted – otherwise, these policies would be terribly difficult to reverse (look, you fool, it’s working!…)

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    Eddie, It’s already a flood compared to where we were at a year ago. We’ve has turned one corner. As for ‘unmistakeable evidence’: we’re talking about the zeitgeist, or the mood in the room. It’s not measureable easily.

    Right now the only unmistakeable evidence we need to look for concerns the climate. But it’s interesting to speculate on the gathering momentum and to note climate ‘popularity’ polls. Sceptical Blogs have doubled in the last year. Our local major daily newspaper now regularly puts both sides forwards. That was unthinkable when I was in Bali in Dec 07.

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    Eddie

    Joanne: “As for ‘unmistakeable evidence: we’re talking about the zeitgeist…

    So you’re going on gut instinct. Nothing wrong with that, but is it enough to make confident predictions about “The Turning Point”? Seems a tad flimsy to me.

    “Sceptical blogs have doubled in the last year.”

    That sounds like a major development. How many AGW sceptic blogs are there in existence today? Are you referring to English-only blogs, or do you mean worldwide?

    One explanation for the renewed interest in AGW is the US election cycle. Most people knew last year that the Republicans’ time was up, and a new administration would be serious about tackling global warming.

    So if there has been a rise in sceptical comment – whether on blogs or in the traditional media – this is hardly surprising. Renewed resistance could equally point to a desperate rearguard action as a “turning point”.

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    Steve Meikle

    IT seems there are TWO things being dealt with here. Firstly there is the case for AGW, and secondly there is a question of public opinion.

    I dont think it is valid to accuse JoNova of flimsiness if she is addressing public opinion. although public opinion had no bearing on the truth of any question EVER yet the fact of public opinion is a separate, if relevant issue

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    Eddie

    Steve Meikle: “I dont think it is valid to accuse JoNova of flimsiness if she is addressing public opinion.”

    So what does Joanne say about her views of public opinion: “…we’re talking about the zeitgeist, or the mood in the room. It’s not measureable easily.”

    So we’re talking here about a hunch, a guess, speculation. Nothing wrong with that. Some good stuff comes from speculation. But a “mood” is not a robust item of evidence. It’s something ephemeral, transient, hard to pin down.

    On the basis of this immeasurable mood, Joanne confidently predicts: “History will record this cold northern winter as the season when being known as a skeptic became scientifically hip…”

    The northern winter is almost over. I have yet to see any robust evidence — beyond Joanne’s prediction — that AGW scepticism is becoming scientifically hip.

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    Brian Valentine

    “Scientifically” hip?

    Or just hip?

    If you want to be a square, go be one. Nobody is stopping you.

    Meanwhile, I’ll shout it from the rootops:

    AGW is ABSOLUTE NONSENSE !!!

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    Eddie

    Brian: “’Scientifically’ hip?”

    You need to take up your query with Joanne, since it is her phrase.

    “Meanwhile I’ll shout it from the rooftops.”

    Each to his own. While you’re up there, see if you can spot The Turning Point. It’s sort of elusive around these parts.

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    Bruce

    Hi Eddie,

    Perhaps you may like to join the “hip” new Australian political party!

    http://www.climatesceptics.com.au/

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    Eddie

    Bruce: “Perhaps you may like to join the “hip” new Australian political party!”

    Interesting idea, although the policy seems a bit sketchy. I’m also not sure what “family values” have to do with global warming, but I guess they need to cast their net wide.

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    Bruce

    Eddie:

    I posted the link as an example of the recent changes in public attitudes to AGW. In the past, something like this wouldn’t have happened, or would have been greeted with derision and vilification.

    I agree that the dot points on the “About Us” page do seem to stray off the topic. However, they also have some interesting links and information about the media bias when reporting on AGW.

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    Brian Valentine

    I think this is a wonderful political movement, and it appears Australia is way ahead of my country the USA in something like this.

    I doubt Senator Milne representing Tasmania is likely to sign on in the near future – but she will certainly have to deal with it

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    Anne-Kit Littler

    Eddie, you’re not sure what “family values” have to do with global warming …

    I’m making a wild guess here, but in this context (= opposition to introduction of unnecessary taxation based on flawed, unproven science) it COULD mean that “supporting family values” means this party stands for integrity, decency, truth, justice, freedom, security, honesty, responsibility – including fiscal responsibility -, bias-free education, respect for civil rights, etc. etc. I am sure these are all things we’d like to teach our kids.

    Your postings are pretty snide and sneering. Do you have anything interesting to add to this thread? If so, let’s hear it.

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    Eddie

    Anne-Kit: “…integrity, decency, truth, justice, freedom, security, honesty, responsibility – including fiscal responsibility -, bias-free education, respect for civil rights, etc. etc.”

    Still can’t see the connection with global warming. Mind you, I’m all for those values. In fact, I’d add a few more such as motherhood and apple pie. Mm-mmm. Nothing like apple pie to foster those family values. I highly recommend it.

    I’m sorry you find my posts snide and sneering, but my primary focus has been on this confident prediction: “This must be it, surely, the point where being a skeptic has more scientific cachet than being a believer. The trickle is becoming a flood.”

    Still waiting for the flood.

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    Bruce

    Hi Eddie,

    Perhaps you may like to sign this petition against the Australian Emissions Trading Scheme.

    Suggest you also browse through some of the comments.

    http://www.listentous.org.au/

    or

    http://www.auscsc.org.au/

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    Eddie

    CyberForester: “See this article”

    Check the lead para: “Japanese scientists have made a dramatic break with the UN and Western-backed hypothesis of climate change in a new report from its Energy Commission.”

    Critically examine the above sentence. Why have we not heard of this “dramatic break”? Have all Japanese scientists made this break? What does the “report” consist of? How did it originate? What is this Energy Commission?

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    Anne-Kit Littler

    Eddie, this is a quote from the above article:

    “Japan Society of Energy and Resources (JSER) is the academic society representing scientists from the energy and resource fields, and acts as a government advisory panel. The report appeared last month but has received curiously little attention. So The Register commissioned a translation of the document – the first to appear in the West in any form. Below you’ll find some of the key findings – but first, a summary.”

    … which makes me wonder if you bothered to read anything beyond the lead paragraph, given your peculiar questions.

    Let me break it down for you (but don’t be lazy and expect us to do your reading for you in future):

    “Why have we not heard of this “dramatic break”?” Well duh, Eddie, you’re hearing about it now, it appeared in a Japanese publication last month and has only now been translated into English.

    “Have all Japanese scientists made this break?” Ahhhh cute, you’re looking for that universal consensus you guys are so attached to … Basic grammar lesson: “Japanese scientists have made a [ ] break … ” COULD mean “all” but in this case means the “some” that the main body of the article refers to. That’s why you really should have read a bit further than the headline.

    “What does the ‘report’ consist of? How did it originate?” Read the article, including the translation of original report.

    “What is this Energy Commission?” See above quote from article.

    Is this the best “attack” you can come up with, Eddie? I’m sure if you read about the individual scientists (yes, they are named …) you could rustle up some of the standard ad-hom nonsense, come on …

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    Eddie

    Anne-Kit: “Eddie, this is a quote from the above article:

    “Japan Society of Energy and Resources (JSER) is the academic society representing scientists from the energy and resource fields, and acts as a government advisory panel. The report appeared last month but has received curiously little attention…”

    The quote mentions a “report”. The impression given is that the Japan Society of Energy and Resources prepared a report, possibly as advice to the Japanese government, perhaps commissioned by a government body called the Energy Commission.

    Is this impression consistent with the facts? Are the scientists concerned in fact members of JSER?

    “Basic grammar lesson: “Japanese scientists have made a [ ] break … ” COULD mean “all” but in this case means the “some” that the main body of the article refers to.”

    Right. So we are talking about five scientists. What is their relationship to JSER?

    “How did it originate?” Read the article, including the translation of original report.”

    The article says nothing about how the report originated.

    “What is this Energy Commission?” See above quote from article.

    The article mentions an “Energy Commission”. It does not say anything else about this commission. So what is it?

    This article raises many questions, and I am sceptical that the impression it conveys is accurate. I am definitely sceptical about the lead paragraph, which claims that Japanese – presumably climate — scientists have repudiated AGW.

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    Eddie

    Bruce: “Another article”

    Here is an excerpt from the original article, by Dr Vicky Pope of the UK Met Office [paras inserted for readability]:

    “The most recent example of this sequence of claim and counter-claim focused on the Greenland ice sheet. The melting of ice around south-east Greenland accelerated in the early part of this decade, leading to reports that scientists had underestimated the speed of warming in this region.

    “Recent measurements, reported in Science magazine last week, show that the speed-up has stopped across the region. This has been picked up on the climate sceptics’ websites. Again, natural variability has been ignored in order to support a particular point of view, with climate change advocates leaping on the acceleration to further their cause and the climate change sceptics now using the slowing down to their own benefit.

    “Neither group is right and all that is achieved is greater confusion among the public. What is true is that there will always be natural variability in the amount of ice around Greenland and that as our climate continues to warm, the long-term reduction in the ice sheet is inevitable.”

    Pope is criticising all sides for making over-reaching claims on climate. The writer of the linked article is quoting selectively to support his agenda.

    Ironically, the original UK Met Office article warns against this very practice.

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    Eddie

    Anne-Kit: “Is this the best “attack” you can come up with, Eddie?”

    I can do better. Here are some comments from one of the Japanese scientists who contributed to the “report”. He is Kiminori Itoh, a professor at Yokohama National University.
    Some excerpts:

    “I am one of the five who participated to the article in the JSER journal… Actually, the information I gave in the article largely owes the invaluable information shown at this site WUWT as well as Climate Science and Climate Audit…

    “The article of JSER has been composed of discussions between the five contributors, made through e-mail for several months, and was organized by Prof. Yoshida of Kyoto University (an editor of the JSER journal). Our purpose was to invoke healthy discussions on the global warming issue in Japan. The JSER journal was selected as a platform for this discussion just because Prof. Yoshida has a personal interest in this issue and he is an editor of the journal.

    “Thus, it is not correct if one thinks that the discussion represents the opinion of the journal’s editors or of the society JSER. In fact, none of the five contributors belong to the JSER, and Prof. Yoshida kept his attitude neutral in the article.”

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/02/25/japans-society-of-energy-and-resources-disses-the-ipcc-says-recent-climate-change-is-driven-by-natural-cycles-not-human-industrial-activity/#comments

    So the “report” was in fact an article in the journal of JSER, refereed by one of the editors, and none of the five contributors are in fact members of JSER. Prof Itoh admits that he culled much of his material from sceptic blogs. So basically we’ve got a think-piece, which is worthy enough in its own right, but hardly the “dramatic break” claimed in the article headline.

    So, once again, critically examine the headline: “Japanese scientists have made a dramatic break with the UN and Western-backed hypothesis of climate change in a new report from its Energy Commission.”

    Does this headline accurately represent the facts?

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    Bruce

    Eddie,

    I agree that using an isolated trend or a single phenomenon to support or argue against AGW is pointless.

    However, the title of this post is “The turning point – it’s becoming chic to be a sceptic”. To me this means that there is a recent change occurring in the attitudes to AGW – both in the general populace and within the scientific community. I posted the link to support this contention. Whether this change is a trickle or a flood, is not as important as the basic fact that it is occurring and gaining momentum. “The Australian” and even the Fairfax newspapers are now occasionally printing articles supporting AGW skeptics. This was unheard of until recently. Some Australian politicians are also now openly declaring their disbelief in AGW e.g. Barnaby Joyce and Dr Dennis Jensen.

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    Eddie

    Bruce: “I agree that using an isolated trend or a single phenomenon to support or argue against AGW is pointless.”

    Bruce, it’s not a matter of single items of information. It’s the accuracy of that information. So far, the Theon story has proved a nine-day wonder, and I have shown where claims made in two additional stories have been exaggerated and cannot be supported by the source documents.

    So people who are basing their turning point claims on “the mood in the room” are not doing due diligence, especially if that mood is based on the sort of misrepresentations we have seen in articles that you have apparently accepted at face value.

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    Bruce

    Eddie,

    In relation to post no 150.

    How come you didn’t include the comments below from Prof Itoh Kiminori, in his update to the original article?

    “All the contributors are well-established researchers in different fields and each has characteristic personal opinions on the AGW issue. Only one (Dr. Emori, National Institute of Environmental Sciences, Japan) represents IPCC. Other members are more or less skeptical of the conclusions of IPCC. For instance, as translated into English, Dr. Kusano made a severe critique on climate models; he himself is a cloud-modeler, so that his critique seems plausible. Prof. Akasofu is well known as an aurora physicist, Prof. Maruyama is famous for his ideas in geophysics, and I myself have sufficient academic record in environmental physical chemistry (more than 160 peer review papers”

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    Eddie

    Bruce: “How come you didn’t include the comments below from Prof Itoh Kiminori, in his update to the original article?”

    They weren’t relevant to my argument, which was about the accuracy of the Register article.

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    Bruce

    Eddie

    I agree that the accuracy of the Register article appears to be suspect, given that the update by Prof Itoh Kiminori is correct.

    However, the fact remains that of the five eminent Japanese scientists contributing to the email discussions, upon which Prof. Yoshida of Kyoto University based the article, four of them are quoted in the public domain as being “more or less sceptical of the conclusions of the IPCC”.

    This is still a significant event, and provides further evidence that respected scientists wihin the scientific community are starting to openly question the validity of the IPCC conclusions and models.

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    Bruce

    Here’s another one from a leading US physicist, William Happer in testimony to the US Senate Energy Committee.

    http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/reprint/happer_senate_testimony.html

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    Eddie

    Bruce: “However, the fact remains that of the five eminent Japanese scientists contributing to the email discussions, upon which Prof. Yoshida of Kyoto University based the article, four of them are quoted in the public domain as being “more or less sceptical of the conclusions of the IPCC”.”

    Bruce, the four sceptical scientists were chosen because they were already sceptics. The scientist who arranged the debate wanted a discussion of global warming from a sceptical viewpoint.

    There will always be scientists who are sceptical of AGW. What matters in the end is the evidence, and the evidence is in favour of warming.

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    Bruce

    Eddie,

    “There will always be scientists who are sceptical of AGW. What matters in the end is the evidence, and the evidence is in favour of warming”

    Dr. Patrick J. Michaels, Senior Fellow in Environmental Studies, Cato Institute. Washington, DC and Research Professor of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, disagrees.

    On Thursday, February 12, 2009, Dr. Patrick J. Michaels provided testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Energy and Environment during their hearing “The Climate Crisis: National Security, Public Health, and Economic Threats.”

    Dr. MIchaels’ general message was that the recent behavior of global temperatures is starting to push the (lower) bounds of climate models’ expectations of such behavior and that if the current slowdown in the rate of global warming continues for much longer, we must start to question the reliability of climate projections of the future state of our climate.

    http://www.worldclimatereport.com/index.php/2009/02/13/committee-on-energy-and-environment-testimony/

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    Eddie

    Bruce: “Dr. Patrick J. Michaels…”

    As I say, there will always be scientists who are sceptical of AGW.

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    Bruce

    Here are some interesting blogs from John Tierney of the NY times, about the recent Heartland Conference on Climate Change:

    http://tierneylab.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/03/page/2/

    I think the link to “informational cascades” in the “Lessons from the Skeptics Conference” post is of particular relevance to the AGW debate.

    How nice to see a balanced perspective in the NY Times!

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    Boudu

    I was a skeptic a long time ago. And I remember the so sixties. Which of course means I wasn’t there ! But I was a skeptic. Honestly. Finally I’m hip !

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    kasphar

    During the early to mid 70′s, many scientists were predicting an ice age (including one Stephen Schneider, who is now an AGW alarmist). When anyone points this out today, the alarmists say that this view was never really adopted by scientists and the whole iceage scenario of the ’70s has been described as ‘discredited meme’ (there were, of course, some who said the climate will warm). Today the same situation is happening. When the climate cools, as it may well do, I suspect the alarmists will try to jump ship like they did in the late ’70s and blame it on the IPCC policymakers.
    Maybe skeptics should be called ‘climate realists’. Realists use all ‘real’ data to postulate a position, not computer modelling.

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    Anne-Kit Littler

    “Passion for global warming cools in the face of evidence” …

    … Dum, dum, dum, another one bites the dustttt …..

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25329958-20261,00.html

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    GM

    It is interesting that the core of the debate amongst the respondents in this space is about whether AGW modelling is predictive or not.

    Much of the “not predictive” case relies on either the absence of sufficient upward trend data being available now or the claim that rises in atmospheric carbon has historically lagged temperature rise.

    Given agreement to these statements the key issues are (i) what if anything will be the impact of rising atmospheric carbon (noting that it has not been as high as it is predicted to reach in a long time), (ii) given that we have a constraint on fossil fuel resources (60 years oil, 85 years natural gas, 160 years of coal or thereabouts) when should we move to a low carbon energy system?

    Whether AGW occurs soon or not at all we are being incredibly wasteful of non renewable resources (not just energy). If the fear of AGW is only a trigger to cause us to focus on more prudent management of our resources this won’t be a bad thing. Suggest those who are doing so stop congratulating yourselves as “intellectuals” or “clever sceptics” and start thinking about how we want the world to look in the future AGW or not.

    As a post script I note that our (Aust) negative balance of trade for oil and liquid transport fuels (excluding natural gas) is ~ A$10b / year and growing.

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    An interesting question about the ‘chic to be a sceptic’ thread is that from many perspectives it would appear that the vast majority of ‘switchers’ are moving from AGW to sceptic. This may, however only be a perception – in spite of the opinion polls there may be a significant trend in the other direction – is anyone aware of this? Does anyone know anyone who has gone ‘backwards’, so to speak?

    On GM’s point re declining and finite resources, I completely agree that we need to very, very carefully conserve these. I suspect, however that the demise of the AGW debate will have the opposite effect and tend to make people distrust any apocalyptic predictions (although history is replete with such events!)

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    Anne-Kit Littler

    GM, your argument that “fear of AGW is not a bad thing ’cause it forces us to … [insert good cause of your choice]…” is a common one both from AGW believers and from those who are still undecided.

    If you haven’t already downloaded a copy of Joanne’s “Skeptics Handbook” I suggest you do. On page 15 she answers the question of “Shouldn’t we be looking for alternatives to fossil fuels anyway?” with this:

    “Hoping for a good outcome while acting on something for all the wrong reasons is called policy-by-accident…[...] Here’s the campaign slogan for that kind of government: “Vote for us, we confuse cause
    and effect, mix up issues, and solve problems by tackling something else instead!” Good policies need good science. Everything else is random government”

    Yes, by all means let’s discover better and cheaper ways of doing things. The history of the human race is testimony to this process being an ongoing one. After all, the stone age didn’t end because we ran out of stones, the bronze age didn’t end because we ran out of bronze. We simply discovered a better way, a better material. No one had to tax or ban the horse and buggy at the start of the 20th century, did they?

    As to the “Peak Oil” myth: Where do you get your figures of fossil fuel reserves? Could it be that you (and others) are not familiar with the basic concepts underlying reserves statistics?

    Oxford economist Wilfrid Beckerman says in his eminent little book “A Poverty of Reason”:

    “History is littered with predictions of imminent resource scarcity that have been subsequently falsified. Malthus’ predictions approximately two hundred years ago – that the world population would soon run out of food supplies – are probably the most famous. But more than two thousand years earlier Pericles in Ancient Greece made equally false predictions. [.... and Paul Ehrlich's numerous failed apocalyptic predictions are a more recent example..., Ed.]

    There are two main reasons why past predictions of imminent exhaustion of minerals have proved wrong. First, they are invariably based on comparisons between existing known reserves and the rate at which they are being used up, indicating a misunderstanding of the meaning of reserves statistics. Second, they ignore the economic mechanisms that are set in motion when any resources becomes scarce.

    As regards the former point, the usual estimates of known reserves of raw materials (in the US, those published by the US Bureau of Mines) are conservative contingency forecasts made by the exploration companies, and they are related to a certain price and the existing state of technical knowledge: if the price is higher, more resources can be expoited commercially. In other words, the known reserves represent the reserves that have been worth finding, given the price and the prospects of demand and the costs of exploration. The existence of only fifty years’ supply of material X at current rates of utilization is no cause for concern for the simple reason that there is rarely any point in companies’ employing geologists to prospect for supplies to last humankind to the end of eternity. For example, is it seriously imagined that if there were already one thousand years of known and economically exploitable reserves of copper, any geologist would be employed in looking for new copper supplies?

    The main reason why we will never run out of any resource or even suffer seriously from any sudden reduction in its supply is that whenever demand for any particular material begins to run up against supply limitations, a wide variety of economic forces are set in motion to remedy the situation. These forces start with a rise in price, which, in turn leads to all sorts of secondary favourable feedbacks – notably a shift to substitutes, an increase in exploration, and technical progress that brings down the costs of exploration and refining and processing as well as the costs of the substitutes. In the longer run, of course, the relative prices of some of the materials in question may still rise, which will cause demand for them to contract gradually toward more and more highly valued uses. If, for example, coal were ever to become a very scarce commodity, its price would rise to the point where, like other scarce minerals like diamonds, it would only be used for jewelry or certain very special industrial applications. Key minerals disappear overnight only in science fiction stories. Meanwhile, in the short run, a growing shortage of any one product will stimulate recourse to substitutes.”

    Mind you, market forces (as explained above) will take care of this, we do NOT need enforced government subsidies, penalties and extra taxes!

    Current known reserves of coal, for example, amount to more than 1000 years supply at current rates of consumption, and natural gas to 500 years*, AT THE MOMENT OF WRITING! And how many people believe that in one thousand years the world will still be using coal for energy? Could anyone at the start of the 20th century have imagined the world we have today, only 100 years later?

    Beckerman concludes: “The future is likely to be much more one of competition between renewable and nonrenewable energy sources. As technological change reduces the price of renewables, the monopoly power of fossil fuel producers will decline, leading to further long-term declines in real energy prices. Environmentalists may find it a sad irony, but for the rest of humanity one of the great benefits of lower-priced renewables could well be a fall in the price of fossil fuels.”

    I really recommend reading the whole book – it’s fairly easy to understand even for a non-economist like me, and it’s an eye opener in many aspects.

    *) Wilfred Beckerman “A Poverty of Reason”, p22 (ref. Anderson 1998b: 437, referring to data in Rogner 1997).

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    GM

    Re Anne-Kit Littler’s comments.
    I took AK’s suggestion and read JoNova’s e-article “Global Warming Skeptics”. Notable points for me were:

    (i) The “ice cores” argument on page 5, which makes the point that is commonly make – atmospheric carbon rise laggs temperature rise – is based on [data shown in the article] CO2 levels of ~ 330 ppm – this is far less than that predicted if we keep on burning carbon.

    Whilst I accept the argument that historically temperature rise leads CO2 levels what evidence do we have that rising CO2 levels are benign?

    (ii) The question [what will be the impact of rising atmospheric CO2 levels?]is relevant even if one accepts that there is little or no evidence of recent warming (JoNova argues that there is no evidence – pps 1-14- pretty much thesis of whole article).

    (iii)In “Cutting through the fog” page 12 the question JoNova postulates is “Can you name a single piece of evidence that higher CO2 levels means hgher temperatures today?”

    Today vs in the future?

    The more interesting question is “what will be the impact of rising atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide, No2 etc, all of which are generated from the essentialy the same activities, be on future generations?”

    On the basis of the JoNova article – is the case that AGW is alive and well able to be conclusively made? Maybe, maybe not. Are the AGW sceptics able to reasure folk that rising levels of those compounds labelled GHG’s will cause no impacts? I have not seen this dealt with at JoNova.

    Maybe Al Gore labelled the problem as AGW – I think of it as increasing pollutants in the atmosphere / biosphere (think salination of soil or depletion of soil nutrients). In any case a verion of the CPRS or AETS is part of the solution.

    With respect to Anne-Kit’s other points

    I am [also] not an economist (a Vet) but I can parecieve some flaws with the free market economy model AK propounds.

    AK seems to make the assetion that “scarcity will be resolved by free markets” AND that intergenerational justice needs to consider the rights of developing country generations (the question of how can a society constrain resource use to protect “our” inheritors at the possible cost to people surviving now in developing countries?).

    All good in a rational space where you live on the “globe” (rather thn a local community). Most people live in little local communities – they are not “global citizens” – they do not have total mobility – they have most of their assets locally – they do not have equal access to information that a university economist has.

    If we run a river sytem out of water peolple go broke (they may starve depending on where they live). If we are totally dependant on imported resources then we will pay premium prices. If we fish out the fishery we starve (or become Somalian pirates). The market is a theoretical construct.

    Bottom line – we need to conserve / manage prudently our resouces…………..

    On balance I still favour carbon tax (use of natural resource tax – I see it as the logical extension of forestry and mineral royalties)

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    Anne-Kit Littler

    GM: “Maybe Al Gore labelled the problem as AGW – I think of it as increasing pollutants in the atmosphere / biosphere (think salination of soil or depletion of soil nutrients). In any case a verion of the CPRS or AETS is part of the solution.”

    With all due respect, you are confusing/conflating several issues here: Anthropogenic Global Warming is allegedly caused by CO2 from burning of fossil fuels. If one believes in that premise (I don’t), one might be excused for thinking that a CPRS or an ETS would help alleviate that in some way, although I would contend that even that is debatable. Pollution, soil salination and depletion of soil nutrients are completely different issues which have nothing to do with releasing CO2 into the atmosphere and causing dangerous warming of same. Consequently, no version of any Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (don’t get me started on the fallacy of THAT terminology …) or Emissions Trading Scheme could ever be relevant as a solution.

    You’ll get no argument from me re conservation and prudent management (of anything, for that matter, not just energy and the environment, but also finances) The whole AGW ‘debate’ is not about prudent conservation.

    Vis a vis “constraining resource use to protect our inheritors”, I don’t really follow your arguments; you seem to contradict yourself in the last few paragraphs. By the way, “the market” is not the only instrument to govern scarcity (or perceived scarcity). As I said above, the human race has a remarkable, documented historical record of amazing resourcefulness, imagination, discovery and creativity. As far as I know we have never yet actually run out of a ‘resource’ – we have always moved on to something better before that happened. After all, according to the late Julian Simon, we are “the ultimate resource”!

    Bottom line (this is from Prof. Beckermann again): “Resources are either finite, or they are not. If they are, then the only way to ensure that they last forever is to stop using them. Bringing future economic growth to a halt is not enough. Levels of consumption need to be reduced to infinitesimal levels if finite resources are to be made to last. But of course, even the most fanatical proponents of sustainability would hardly go that far and would soon sell a critical pass by confessing that, perhaps, after due reflection, with everyting taken into account, etc., etc., etc., the human race will eventually find ways of coping with the changes that take place in the balance beweeen demand and supply of resources.

    In other words, one cannot have it both ways. Either resources are finite in some relevant sense, in which case even zero growth will fail to save us in the long run, or resources are not really finite in any relevant sense, in which case this argument for slowing down growth collapses.” (“A Poverty of Reason”, p.9)

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    Anne-Kit Littler

    Hot off the press: Not sure if ‘chic’ is exactly the word here, but as far as a turning point is concerned, there’s good news in Australia’s main, serious national broadsheet newspaper!

    In today’s issue of the “Weekend Australian” there are no less than three major, prominently placed articles and one editorial giving voice and support to the sceptical side of the argument:

    A “teaser” on the front page “Antarctic ice is more, not less”;

    A major article on p8 “Revealed: Antarctic ice growing, not shrinking” http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25349683-30417,00.html ;

    Editorial on p16 (back page of main section) “More heat than light: The science on global warming is certainly not settled” http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25348908-16382,00.html;

    1/3 page sympathetic interview with Ian Plimer “The climate of consensus is preciptitating a disaster for science” on p2 of the “Inquirer” section (based on his new book “Heaven and Earth: Global Warming – The Missing Science” http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25348271-30417,00.html;

    3/4 page article on p3 of same section “Change is a cold certainty: There is no need to panic about Antarctica” http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25347937-30417,00.html ;

    and 1/4 page Christopher Pearson column based on Ian Plimer’s book on back page of “Inquirer” section “Sceptic spells doom for alarmist religion” http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25348644-5013596,00.html;

    It’s a shame our overseas visitors here have to rely on electronic copies of those articles; you really have to see them in their context to get the importance of this.

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    CyberForester

    I think the true demiers in this are those who believe in Anthropogenic Global Warming, as illustrated by the Mann Hockey Stick. Mann et al deny the Medieaval Warm Period.

    At a rate or 0.04% of the atmosphere, with mankind’s contribution being something like 1.7% of the total input annually, it takes a real denier to think that mankind can do much about the CO2 entering the atmosphere.

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    Matt L

    I AM NOT MATT B! And frankly, I don’t understand why he is allowed to post here. I have never seen a constructive post from him, and he mockingly claims to be posting unoffensively when all he does is attack people and ideologies, never providing scientific evidence. Only the severely uninformed can innocently say that there is no proof for evolution, it has been predicted, the end results seen, and it has been watched in action! Evolution is simply physics in action, it doesn’t even require biology. Evolution is FACT. Now, what cannot be proven are the various claimed webs of species inter-relatedness, and they cannot be proven until we invent time travel, so have fun with that while other people accept the strong conclusions of genetics that we probably did evolve from prehistoric ape-like primates. Interestingly, global warming can be proven… you wait patiently and measure the temperatures. What can’t be proven is that we had any significant part in it (AGW) because we can’t directly measure the natural climate change without us present to compare it to the climate change with us around. Tree rings? What really caused a tree to grow more in a year, higher temperatures, better water supply, or did the tree next to it fall down, allowing it to receive more light? Ice cores? What made a layer thinner, less snowfall, higher atmospheric temperatures, or a colony of penguins roosting there? How do you prove that entire layers aren’t missing, erasing years off the record? When an enormous crevasse opens up and changes the orientation of the ice around it so that the particular patch of ice now receives more sun than it used to, 1000 years ago, how do we account for that?

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    Showing some love to this topic “new to this wordpress”. I defiantly agree with it also. If you really think about it than it all makes alot of sense

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    An update: It seems we have a footrace ongoing between the increasing numbers of skeptics and the United Nations-Obama Regime.

    See our notice of the movie showing here: http://mooretea.wordpress.com/2009/10/14/movie-date/

    Question is, will truth prevail over the political-despotic maneuvers by the UN and Obama plunge America (and by extension UK) into a one-way voyage to international reparations and slavery?

    The self-loathing of Al Gore and his fellow useful idiots is mind-boggling.

    Are we prepared to fight to sustain some semblance of freedom … ? I surely pray that we are.

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    stephen

    With respect you don’t understand basic statistics, and what’s more you’re really quiet mad and you don’t realise it. God help us.

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    Stephen, please explain, who is mad, and who doesn’t understand?
    Jo

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    David Walker

    Wow, Jo, who would have thought the cat could take such a leap out of the bag as it has these past several weeks? It’s looking VERY uncool to be a global warming/climate change “believer” among the informed and wary.

    I anticipate the semantics of the game are due to change at any time; that is, just as believers changed their cause from “global warming” to “climate change”, I’m sure the cause will become “climate disruption”, which will continue to focus on man’s so-called hibitions on the atmosphere (perhaps less on carbon dioxide), as well as man’s effects on topography and hydrology. Hansen, Mann, et al, are losing credibility at an alarming rate.

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    this website is very good,which can help me to solve all kinds of questions.

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