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Censorship Science

Expert Wants to Decertify Global Warming Skeptics 926

Posted by samzenpus
from the believe-it-or-else dept.
Penguinisto writes "Apparently in the Senate, at least one scientist wants to put a permanent stop to any arguments over Global Warming. The Weather Channel's most prominent climatologist is advocating that broadcast meteorologists be stripped of their scientific certification if they express skepticism about predictions of manmade catastrophic global warming."
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Expert Wants to Decertify Global Warming Skeptics

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  • Wrong Way (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 18, 2007 @03:43AM (#17660270)
    No scientific discussion can be made without questioning theories. Censorship is no solution.
    • Thoughtcrime (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 18, 2007 @03:54AM (#17660338)
      Censorship is no solution.

      Censorship is a solution, just not one you use in a free society. People define thoughtcrimes to make their jobs easier because it doesn't force them to debate items in question (from Holocaust denial to questioning state history to global warming).

      It is alarming how many people object to diversity in thought. I do not understand where they think they have derived the right to force everyone to think the same way they do.
      • Re:Thoughtcrime (Score:5, Insightful)

        by h4rm0ny (722443) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @04:57AM (#17660752) Journal

        Absolutely right! This scientist should bear in mind the old Nietzche quote: "He who fights monsters must be careful, lest he himself become one." Or something very much along those lines. What distinguishes the "good guys" from the bad is how they behave, nothing else. Adopting your opponents methods to defeat them, doesn't work in the larger picture.
        • Re:Thoughtcrime (Score:4, Insightful)

          by baldass_newbie (136609) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @06:03AM (#17661178) Homepage Journal
          "Battle ye not with monsters, lest ye also become a monster. And remember that when you look into the abyss, the abyss also looks into you."

          But I would question your straw man about "adopting your opponents methods to defeat them." Every time anyone even hints that they have been silenced, it makes the front page of every newspaper. Like, say, this example [nytimes.com] from last year.
          Boy, not only did they not muzzle Hansen and McCarthy, they let them interview for a front page story on the New York Times.
          Way to shut 'em up, eh?

          Deutsch, of course, resigned (as he should have) but that's hardly stifling dissent. And Scientists should not be dictating policy, unless they hold office. If they feel that strongly, they have every right to run and set policy.
          But the consistent anti-Bush screed smacks of its own ignorance and imbalance.

          *awaits modbombing, starting in 3....2....1...*
        • Re:Thoughtcrime (Score:4, Insightful)

          by TapeCutter (624760) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @06:18AM (#17661262) Journal
          Not picking on you personally, I just want to throw in a bit of dissent on the censorship assumption. :)

          Quoth TFA: "The Climate Code," is advocating that the American Meteorological Society (AMS) revoke their "Seal of Approval" for any television weatherman who expresses skepticism that human activity is creating a climate catastrophe. "If a meteorologist can't speak to the fundamental science of climate change, then maybe the AMS shouldn't give them a Seal of Approval"."

          Now correct me if I'm wrong but nobody screams "censorship" when an incompetent doctor is kicked out of the AMA. What this guy is saying is that a malpracticing meterologist sould not be given a "seal of approval" from a meterological society. Getting kicked out of the AMA makes one unemployable as a doctor, I don't know of any law that says a weatherman must be qualified in any way to broadcast their interpretation of public weather data.

          Censorship is removing ones right to speak freely, it has nothing to do with a scientific body maintaining standards amoungst the people to whom it lends credibility. I belive it comes under "freedom of association" but I don't pretend to be a lawyer.
          • Re:Thoughtcrime (Score:5, Informative)

            by What'sInAName (115383) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @07:49AM (#17661808) Homepage Journal
            Just a correction. Membership in the AMA [wikipedia.org] is not a requirement for a medical doctor. The AMA is a professional/lobbying organization, not a certifying authority.

            Just mentioning this because I thought the same as you, but only found this out recently.

          • Re:Thoughtcrime (Score:5, Insightful)

            by cfulmer (3166) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @07:54AM (#17661864) Homepage Journal
            That's not a good analogy. A better one would be "Nobody screams censorship when a doctor gets kicked out of the AMA for suggesting that leeches have legitimate medical uses." (Which, of course, they do.)

            The more problematic question is "Why?" What is motivating her to suggest this? You kick doctors out of the AMA because you're concerned about patients. These are TV weathermen -- how on earth does a view on climate change affect whether you can accurately predict tomorrow's weather?
            • Re:Thoughtcrime (Score:5, Informative)

              by TapeCutter (624760) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @08:32AM (#17662290) Journal
              "how on earth does a view on climate change affect whether you can accurately predict tomorrow's weather?"

              Excellent question since we all know by now that weather != climate. The point is that the AMC have a body of science that says XYZ about the climate, they do not want someone giving the impression that they endorse a diametrically opposed view that they have investigated ad-nauseam. A weather presenter has every right to an opposing view but whilst a member of that organisation s/he should be clear their view is personal and unpublished. Perhaps a surgeon who refuses to wash thier hands but is still allowed to practice is a better analogy.

              "What is motivating her to suggest this? You kick doctors out of the AMA because you're concerned about patients."

              Climate predictions are like a medical diagnosis for the progression of a "cancer" known as the population explosion. The "cancer" is literally eating and befouling the biosphere at (dare I say) an "alarming" rate. The main symptoms of this "cancer" are climate change, habitat destruction, peak oil and the sixth great extinction. Nobody can say if or when the biosphere will collapse around us, it's like a game of kerplunk, everyone knows we can't keep removing straws indefinitely.
              • Re:Thoughtcrime (Score:4, Insightful)

                by cfulmer (3166) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @09:00AM (#17662590) Homepage Journal
                If this were somebody attacking, say, the heliocentric view of the solar system, I'd agree with you. But, climate change is still subject to legitimate scientific debate; we still don't really understand either the extent to which it's happening or its causes.

                Your surgeon analogy still overstates the case for two reasons (1) the existence of germs is much better proven than humans causing significant climate change, and (2) the surgeon's error may cause somebody to die, but the weatherman's is harmless (except, perhaps, to somebody else's agenda).
                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by TapeCutter (624760)
                  "But, climate change is still subject to legitimate scientific debate"

                  Agreed, and "higher resolution" observations and models are essential to that debate!

                  "we still don't really understand either the extent to which it's happening or its causes."

                  This is what is understood [realclimate.org], it is 5-6yrs out of date and will be updated this year, anecdotely it appears that the 2001 IPCC underestimated the extent and rate of change in many areas but we will have to wait and see. The margin of error for cause and effec
                  • Re:Thoughtcrime (Score:4, Insightful)

                    by sumdumass (711423) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @12:17PM (#17665662) Journal
                    But if the recent back to back hurricane seasons in the US is not an example of extreme climate variability I don't know what is?
                    Umm those have been explained by normal natual occurances. Or at least they say it was. Nobody that I know of is acrediting the last two hurricane seasons to global warming.

                    The one is the because of the currents in the atlantic which makes a rotational cycle and the latest was because of the El Mino's effect on it. We had plenty of storms, they just didnt' hit land of the warmer shallower water in the gulf areas wich cintribute enoumously to the intensity of the storm.

                    To wait for unobtainable certainty is a dogmatic failure to adapt to our surroundings. A surefire path to extinction unless of course the basic premise of evolution is also "just a theory".
                    The problems is the cause and effect combined to the solution. We don't fully understand the causes or the solutions to the causes. A prime example of this is your reference to the US hurricane seasons. You attributed something other then the real cause to the effect. Now anything you do to corect it might cause an even worse problems or just be as useless as sacrificing a virgin to the volcano. So yes, we need to understand it better and determin if our action will actualy have the desired effect.

                    But we are allowed to have people that claim "global warming caused everything" and now we aren't allowed to have people say it didn't cause this. We are allowed to have someone say man aused everything in global warming but not discuse Natures impact or even the fact that water vapor is the single most potent effect on the "green house effect". mand made green house gasses (Co2 specificly) anly account for around 2% of the total greenhouse effect. I don't hear anyone claiming we should stop using water though.

                    Carbon emisions alone are not likley going to be enough to stop global warming. So in limiting them, what are we really trying to achive? Well, If you have asked that question enough, you will find answers hinting of global redistribution or wealth. Every purposal that suggest anything other then limiting GHG emisions either doesn't effect develpoing countries or has some provision were develpoed countries can pay develpoing countries for unused air quality. So we look at the political enviroment when one of the most impacting global warming solution was being made (the kyoto acord) and we find a movment to forgive the debt of the third world countries. Simularities here aren't coincident by any means. So now we are touting Kyoto as an end all to the dooming disaster that has everyone scared into doing what? Stoping develpoed countries from develpoing or paying third world countries for not developing. Either way, it lets third world countries catch up. And this is achived under the premise of less green house gasses that will cure what everyone has made you afraid of.

                    This has been a massive "the boogy man will get you if you wander off in the dark" campain designed to get certain behavior from certain people. Are you afraid of the boogyman? The problem with this is that it has scewed the probability of if anthing meaningfull could be done and to what effect it will have.
              • Re:Thoughtcrime (Score:4, Informative)

                by electroniceric (468976) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @11:13AM (#17664598)
                A weather presenter has every right to an opposing view but whilst a member of that organisation s/he should be clear their view is personal and unpublished.
                Thanks you, very well put. This AMS has published a statement in support of anthropogenic influence climate change, and many meteorologist speak in direct contradiction to that statement. In that vein, if you read the post [weather.com] on Dr. Cullen's blog, [weather.com] she's got a different message. She's saying that meteorologists are not bothering to understand what scientific organizations, including their own are saying about climate change, and instead are speculating based on what they hear elsewhere (and hence end up repeating assertions that are not scientifically sound). That's an issue of basic credibility - every scientist making claims about the state of scientific understanding of an issue needs to be well grounded in the literature and consensus of the community. Meteorologists are not doing this, yet they are assuming the mantle of climate scientists. That's deeply irresponsible, and if it occurred in another field would indeed be subject to sanction, much like you analogy of a surgeon not washing his or her hands. Really, read her post - she's put it much better than me, and it's not aimed as censorship at all.

                As for how the loaded word censorship got introduced here, note that this press release is really from James Inhofe's office (Morano is Inhofe's communications director).
                http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Marc_Mo rano [sourcewatch.org]

                Inhofe has consistently misrepresented the evidence for climate change and included testimony from non-experts. So whatever the merits of whether and how meteorologists should be permitted to publicly disagree with the science endorsed by their organizations, this press release (and its histrionics about censorship) does not originate from the climate science community - it originates from a Senator with a track record of scientific disinformation. Know thy sources and their modus operandi.
      • Re:Thoughtcrime (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Arker (91948) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @05:02AM (#17660790) Homepage
        The problem is that the moment you outlaw dissent, you have completely and formally abandoned science. Of course, a lot of people (including ones that claim to be scientists!) wouldn't care, they never made the distinction between science and the religion of scientism, so they wouldn't notice the difference.

        This proposal isn't really all that radical either - it would simply formalise the situation. Any scientist that makes public his reservations with the global warming dogma is already dealing severe damage to his career.
        • Re:Thoughtcrime (Score:4, Insightful)

          by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday January 18, 2007 @09:12AM (#17662770)
          I'm a liberal Democrat and even *I* am skeptical of the claims made by many global warming researchers. Their scenarios always remind me of a radical environmentalist I once knew who could preach a fire and brimstone apocalypse as good as the best religious zealot.

          Any time people start predicting the end of the world, you'd better watch them carefully. It doesn't matter what "religion" they represent, millenialists seem to share a lot in common. And one of the things they share is a desire to silence those voices of reason who would urge caution.

          -Eric

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by kabocox (199019)
          This proposal isn't really all that radical either - it would simply formalise the situation. Any scientist that makes public his reservations with the global warming dogma is already dealing severe damage to his career.

          How many topics or fields do we have that could be like this. Off the top of my head there is global warming, stem cell research, any research into human cloning, evolution/creationism/intelligent design, we have dicussions on bad things that could happen with nano tech that might mean laws
      • Re:Thoughtcrime (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Professor_UNIX (867045) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @05:15AM (#17660892)
        I do not understand where they think they have derived the right to force everyone to think the same way they do.
        They're probably Slashdot or Digg users. Group-think is very strong in both of these online communities and you will get moderated down if you disagree with the accepted collective doctrine. It is understandable, and frankly human nature, that this problem extends to communities of practice outside our simple online technical groups. You can find similar situations in the "real world" all the time. Try taking a political science course with a liberal professor and then express your neo-conservative viewpoints during discussions. I'd bet 90% of the time you would come out of the class with a lower grade than your liberal classmates even though you showed the same amount of enthusiasm and willingness to participate in class discussions as they did. There are perceived notions among our communities that the collective is "right" and anyone who dares go against the collective group-think is inherently wrong. As we've seen time and time again though, advancements in culture and technology occur when people are brave enough to break away from the collective and tread down new paths even at the risk of being ridiculed or persecuted.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Ambitwistor (1041236)

          They're probably Slashdot or Digg users. Group-think is very strong in both of these online communities and you will get moderated down if you disagree with the accepted collective doctrine.
          Heh. Quickest way to get moderated up on Slashdot? Say "I know I'll get modded down for saying this, but..." Then all the righteous defenders of free speech and heterodoxy will ensure the opposite happens.
      • Re:Thoughtcrime (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jcr (53032) <jcrNO@SPAMmac.com> on Thursday January 18, 2007 @05:36AM (#17661032) Journal
        It is alarming how many people object to diversity in thought

        It's even more alarming how many people who do so purport to be liberals.

        -jcr

      • by gd23ka (324741) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @07:55AM (#17661890) Homepage
        The Weather Channel's most prominent man-made global warming evangelist is
        advocating that broadcast meteorologists be excommunicated for heresy if
        they express skepticism about the gospel of man-made catastrophic global warming.

        They're all sorts of religions on the planet and only few deal with spiritual matters.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bakana (918482)
      I'd first have to ask everyone who believes in a man made global warming to watch the global warming episode of BULLSHIT! by Pen and Teller. In that show, they have both experts for and against global warming. That would be a good place to start. Secondly, let me point out that sometime in the 70's early 80's, can't remember, there were scientist crying about global COOLING! I don't know if everyone else remembers that, but I do. I don't agree that we should censor anyone. Let everyone's ideas flow fr
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by 1u3hr (530656)
        Secondly, let me point out that sometime in the 70's early 80's, can't remember, there were scientist crying about global COOLING!

        Bullshit [wmconnolley.org.uk]

        • Re:Wrong Way (Score:5, Insightful)

          by MyNameIsFred (543994) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @05:37AM (#17661038)
          Your source explicitly excludes popular media, because it does not support his case. I personally believe in global climate change. HOWEVER, I distinctly recall articles in the popular media during the 70s clearly stating that an ice age was coming. One of the points raised by those articles was whether global warming due to CO2 production would offset the coming ice age.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ErroneousBee (611028)

          Secondly, let me point out that sometime in the 70's early 80's, can't remember, there were scientist crying about global COOLING!

          Bullshit [wmconnolley.org.uk]

          Welcome to the latest round of FUD from the petro-chemical/creationist/right-wing cabal.

          Recently they've been taking quotes from articles on milankovitch cycles [wikipedia.org] wildly out of context [washingtonpost.com]. They are also now 'finding' evidence for milankovitch cycles in the fossil record, and presenting them as new evidence [bbc.co.uk] of past non-anthropogenic global warming.

          We know there have been past episodes of warming and cooling [wikipedia.org]. We also have evidence that periods marked by a rapid tripling of CO2 levels are associated with mass e

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Darth Daver (193621)
          Unlike many readers on Slashdot, I remember the 1970's. After a couple of severe winters involving blizzards, news reports extensively covered the coming of the next ice age. It was featurd in time magazine ( http://newsbusters.org/node/6546 [newsbusters.org] ), where they stated, "However widely the weather varies from place to place and time to time, when meteorologists take an average of temperatures around the globe they find that the atmosphere has been growing gradually cooler for the past three decades. The trend sh
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Soldrinero (789891)
            Well, you are correct that there were predictions of global cooling (although I think "ice age" might be a bit beyond what the scientific community really said). This was based on real data - the Earth really did cool down for about three decades. But around the 1970's, it started to warm up again. Climate scientists now realize that the cooling effect was the result of aerosols (fine particles suspended in the atmosphere, not the CFC spay cans). I think the mechanism was that aerosols increased cloud forma
      • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @04:19AM (#17660534)
        Science requires it. We have to accept that you can't prove a theory true in the same was things can be proved in mathematics. There's not a one step, now this is true and we know that, kind of thing. The way it works is scientific theories must be falsifiable, that is a proposition which is able to be proven false. If they aren't they are a hypothesis at best and just aren't scientific theories. That's why creationism isn't a theory, there's no way to falsify it.

        Thus the very essence of doing science is entertaining ways your theory could be wrong, even if you don't believe them. If someone gives an alternate theory for your observations, you need to test it. You have to try and prove your theory false. That's how good science is done. You entertain all the ways you can come up with that your theory could be wrong.
      • by ReallyEvilCanine (991886) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @05:18AM (#17660914) Homepage
        Penn & Teller are great when it comes to con men, but on other subjects they fail it. Hard. They were wrong about glass recycling. They were wrong about second-hand smoke, using as their sole sources of information a "think tank" run by a woman whose reports echo whatever her tobacco and oil companies want them to as well as to a court case which was vacated by a higher court. They were also as wrong about global warming as Michael Crichton in his horrible passion play, State of Confusion which was wrong [columbia.edu], wrong [csicop.org], wrong [nrdc.org].

        This doesn't mean that anyone challenging a popularly held idea or even accepted theory should be silenced. Far from it. Science needs theories questioned. However, when the questions are being raised by shills in order to confuse and are based in fallacy and reference already disproven works, that's when such "scientists" should have their credentials stripped.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        there were scientist crying about global COOLING

        Well looking at my backyard [cbs2.com], I wouldn't be so quick to knock global cooling. Rapid climate change? What rapid climate change? :)

    • by golodh (893453) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @05:14AM (#17660876)
      Of course not ... and I don't need to be told. In addition, real scientists aren't in the habit of advocating gag orders on opponents. Ever. So what's up?

      It seems that somebody (opposed to the idea of a man-made impacy on climate) seems to have worked out how to evoke a popular (knee-jerk) response from Slashdot.

      The secret is that ... most slashdotters simply don't read the article referred to, let alone the articles referred to by that article. They take the position that they can rely on whoever wrote the slashdot newsflash to do that for them. Instead they are happy to comment on the post and the previous comments (much more fun, and less work). So ... if you can insert any statement to excite slashdotters in your newsflash, you can pretty much lead them to endorse (or condemn) whatever orginal article you like.

      So ... what is actually going on?

      Q: Did those experts cited really propose to end scientific discussion by silencing those who oppose the idea of a man-made impact on global warning?

      A: No! (see the original blog by Heidi Cullen at http://climate.weather.com/blog/9_11396.html [weather.com] )

      Q: So if that wasn't the case, then where did the idea come from?

      A: The idea came from a certain Marc Morano (marc_morano@epw.senate.gov) who's blog was cited by slashdot. See the blog referenced by the slashdot newsflash at http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction= PressRoom.Blogs&ContentRecord_id=32abc0b0-802a-23a d-440a-88824bb8e528 [senate.gov])

      Q: So if there was no question of the experts proposing to stifle discussion by de-certifying opponents then where does all the hoopla come from?

      A :I think we are witnessing a rant by Marc Morano which received disproportionate attention by it's referral on slashdot. In case this referral was deliberate, we are witnessing a political mear campaign. Live and in colour

      • by Gorshkov (932507) <admgorshkov.yahoo@com> on Thursday January 18, 2007 @07:12AM (#17661516)
        Q: Did those experts cited really propose to end scientific discussion by silencing those who oppose the idea of a man-made impact on global warning?

        A: No! (see the original blog by Heidi Cullen at http://climate.weather.com/blog/9_11396.html [weather.com] )


        Are you sure about that?
        From the TFA:
        Meteorologists are among the few people trained in the sciences who are permitted regular access to our living rooms. And in that sense, they owe it to their audience to distinguish between solid, peer-reviewed science and junk political controversy. If a meteorologist can't speak to the fundamental science of climate change, then maybe the AMS shouldn't give them a Seal of Approval. Clearly, the AMS doesn't agree that global warming can be blamed on cyclical weather patterns. It's like allowing a meteorologist to go on-air and say that hurricanes rotate clockwise and tsunamis are caused by the weather. It's not a political statement...it's just an incorrect statement.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by golodh (893453)
          Yes, very sure.

          The line you boldfaced: "If a meteorologist can't speak to the fundamental science of climate change, then maybe the AMS shouldn't give them a Seal of Approval." basically says:

          "A Meteorologist should be knowledgeable about the evidence about climate change. It's his subject after all. If he isn't, he's incompetent and should be de-certified."

          Well, that's something I agree with.

          The fact that we are witnessing Climate Change in itself is pretty uncontroversial. What is controversial is

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by DrJay (102053)
        One google search brings us:
        "Morano works under Senator James Inhofe, majority chairman of the committee."

        Inhofe is the senator who called human influence on climate one of the greatest hoaxes ever perpetrated, and used his former chairmanship to throw all sorts of unsubstantiated claims into the limelight. I would assume that his staff have just as much credibility.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by testadicazzo (567430)
      Totally agree with you that censorship is not a good solution, and that censoring scientific debate is always a bad idea. When I read the editorial I immediately thought the same thing as you. But then I read the article,and followed the links. The article is incredibly misleading. Here's the actual quote on which the article bases its statement that "at least one scientist wants to put a permanent stop to any arguments over Global Warming. The Weather Channel's most prominent climatologist...":

      Capit

  • Um (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Umbral Blot (737704) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @03:46AM (#17660288) Homepage
    But what if they are right? Sure it seems unlikely, but if we ban offering an opposing opinions we trap ourselves. Besides shouldn't we be focusing on censoring intelligent design first? (note to stupid people: I am not serious about censoring intelligent design advocated). Oh yeah, and what about the Bill of Rights. It's so annoying sometimes.
    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @04:04AM (#17660408)
      That pushes some of us towards more skepticism. I'm not a climatologist or anything like it so I've had little success with my own research. There's a lot of scientists that say it's a man made phenomena and its' dire, but then consensus means nothing and many of them are basing their research off of things that are not that empirically valid, overstating their conclusions, or both. Regardless, it's just something I can't disambiguate*. I have just said "screw it" and continue to support conservation for it's own sake (use less, have more).

      However one thing that really makes me skeptical is the religious zeal with which it is pushed. In most science it seems to be that when you have a theory you know is right and plenty of proof, you've no need to shout down your skeptics. You welcome the skepticism, and welcome the chance to show it's wrong. After all, that's how we prove theories, is by thinking of every possible way they could be false and testing that. The more times the tests don't come out false, the more sure we are the theory is right. That's the whole doctrine of falsifiability and it's the cornerstone of modern empiricism.

      But that's not how it goes with GW. If you are a skeptic you are shouted down as an idiot, an industry shill, someone not to be listened to, and now even threatened with stripping them of rank. It looks like a religious inquisition, not like science. That makes me worried. The reason religions do that is because there's NOT proof so it is dangerous to them when people start claiming something other than what they believe. That kind of attitude has absolutely no place in science.

      More than any of the actual skeptical papers, this makes me wonder about the GW argument. If your position is so tenuous that it must be defended with ad hominem attacks and threats, I have to wonder about how correct it really can be.

      * Please note: Don't bother posting some diatribe trying to convince me on GW. I've read plenty of papers, plenty of arguments by people who do it for a living. It's very unlikely you'd find something to change my mind, at least given the normal pro-GW post I see on Slashdot.
      • by cliffski (65094) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @04:22AM (#17660554) Homepage
        There's a difference between the global warming debate and other scientific debates, and that's timescale. We can argue for the next thousand years if evolution or creationists are right, it really doesn't matter apart from proving a point. We can argue for ten million years about whether or not string theory is right, or how black holes are formed, or how gravity really works etc etc etc.

        The problem with the man made climate change theory is that it predicts a catastrophic outcome that *can be avoided or mitigated heavily* in the *SHORT* term.
        The climate change scientists *might* be wrong.
        But I don't want to take the risk. The thought of coming over all smug in 20 years because I was right and climate change *is* caused by us, will be little comfort if my house is under water at that point.

        It might be academically a bit awkward, but we have actually run out of time for further debate on this one. Some may say we ran out of time 20 years ago. This may make debating societies angry, but I suspect we are going to have to just deal with that.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Arker (91948)
          There are several problems with this argument. For one thing, if the 'consensus' view is indeed wrong then the actions that are being urged to avoid disaster could easily wind up *causing* a different disaster. At best it would mean a collosal waste of scarce resources for no good reason.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by cliffski (65094)
            what waste of scarce resources? most solutions to man made climate change require us to become more efficient in our resource usage. surely "Collosal waste of scarce resources" means driving a hummer to walmart to do grocery shopping?
        • by fredmosby (545378) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @05:33AM (#17661000)
          The evidence for human caused global warming is pretty strong. But hypothesis about the effect of global warming on the environment are not nearly as strongly supported.

          The claims are that global warming will cause: ocean levels to rise, droughts, flooding, stronger storms, ect. These changes will be such a catastrophe for the human race that we must prevent global warming from happening at all costs. People who disagree with these catastrophic predictions are labeled deniers even if they believe global warming is anthropogenic. People who argue that adaption rather than prevention would be a better way of dealing with warming are labeled deniers even if they believe global warming is anthropogenic. There needs to be debate and discussion about how best to deal with global warming.

          P.S. Your post reminds me of a quote from the movie Canadian Bacon:
          "Gentlemen there is a time to think and there is a time to act...and this is no time to think."
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by asuffield (111848)
            The evidence for something-caused global warming is pretty strong. The evidence for humans as the cause of it? There isn't really any. It's not the sort of thing that offers much in the way of evidence - what on earth would such evidence look like? A giant signpost in the sky saying "Hey morons, you did this"?

            We know the planet's getting a little bit hotter. We know what we're doing. The only thing we have connecting the two, so far, is a pile of theories, most of which disagree with each other. This isn't
      • by mpe (36238) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @04:29AM (#17660598)
        However one thing that really makes me skeptical is the religious zeal with which it is pushed. In most science it seems to be that when you have a theory you know is right and plenty of proof, you've no need to shout down your skeptics.

        Indeed a need to censor skeptics itself looks highly suspicious. The implication is that your claims are unsupported and you know it. (Possibly even you believe that some of the skeptics have better theories but cannot accept "losing face".)

        But that's not how it goes with GW. If you are a skeptic you are shouted down as an idiot, an industry shill, someone not to be listened to, and now even threatened with stripping them of rank.

        About the only good point is that there isn't (yet) a call to start jailing skeptics.

        The reason religions do that is because there's NOT proof so it is dangerous to them when people start claiming something other than what they believe.

        A skeptic dosn't have to actually claim any alternative theories. Simply pointing out holes in the claims of the "faithful" is usually sufficent to invoke a hostile response in these kind of situations.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Ihlosi (895663)
        your position is so tenuous that it must be defended with ad hominem attacks and threats,

        What if the other side's insistence on their position is so strong that even the most conclusive evidence of the contrary cannot get them to even consider that they might be wrong ?

        What if you have some guy who inssists that pi = 3.5, and you show him ten different proofs that pi != 3.5, and all he says after that is "Yes, but pi = 3.5" ?

        What I would do is make a mental note that he's a nutjob and should never ever hold

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by nathanh (1214)

        If you are a skeptic you are shouted down as an idiot, an industry shill, someone not to be listened to, and now even threatened with stripping them of rank.

        Except that's not what Dr Cullen asked for. That's what the Slashdot summary says, and what the right-wing blogger says, and it's entirely not what Dr Cullen said.

        Dr Cullen asked that meteorologists refrain from speaking with authority about climate change until they first put in the effort to learn the science of climate change. Uninformed and

  • Censorship (Score:4, Interesting)

    by it0 (567968) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @03:47AM (#17660290)
    How can a scientist be al for censoring?? That said, all the manipulation, lobbying ,etc against known facts should be stopped. So I guess they want to fight corruption with censorship... only in the USA...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by phayes (202222)
      10 to 1 the guy is trying to protect his own grant money by drying up grants to people with competing projects. It's an international game that hasn't changed from the time of Louis Pasteur who had to defend against entrenched interests in the 1850's.
  • by ThanatosMinor (1046978) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @03:48AM (#17660292)
    When global warming is outlawed, only outlaws will be warm...er, globally
  • by Omnifarious (11933) * <eric-slash@omnif ... s.org minus city> on Thursday January 18, 2007 @03:48AM (#17660294) Homepage Journal

    The idea of doing this is just as ridiculous as Bush forcing all scientific papers produced by scientists employed by the government to go through political censors before being.

    But, the linked to article is a horribly biased hatchet job that contains such gems as:

    Intimidating scientists with calls for death trials, name calling and calls for decertification appears to be the accepted tactics of the climate alarmists. The real question is: Why do climate alarmists feel the need to resort to such low brow tactics when they have a compliant media willing to repeat their every assertion without question.

    This is a ridiculous and disingenuous assertion, especially given the well documented policies of the Bush administration to do everything they can to supress research that doesn't support their view.

    I find that entire site rather apalling. And the fact that it appears to be the website for a Senate committee concerned with the environment makes the blatant and obviously one-sided bias all the more awful.

    But, the focus of this Slashdot article is on the person calling for decertification. And, as awfully disingenuous and biased as that site is, they have the guy dead to rights. That is not a reasonable thing to do. Calling for censorship of honest opinions is not something anybody of any political stripe should be doing and severely lowers the credibility of the person who asks that it be done.

  • Weatherchannel (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dr. Cody (554864) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @03:48AM (#17660296)
    Where exactly in the meterologist pecking order does the "Weather Channel's most prominent so-on and so-forth" go?
  • As a liberal (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Travoltus (110240) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @03:48AM (#17660298) Journal
    I cringe at behavior like this.

    Why not just expose who the source of funding is for these critics, or who they're affiliated with? Quite often that's just as devastating, and it's far less chilling as far as free speech is concerned.
  • by Flying pig (925874) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @03:50AM (#17660308)
    The blog cited is in such extreme form that I wonder how much truth there is in the story. It looks like someone has set up this Heidi Cullen as a straw person to claim massive discrimination against anti-Global warming advocates. The blog gets more and more extreme as it goes on until Godwin's Law is invoked. I wonder what Cullen really said, in what context.
  • whoa! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dave1g (680091) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @03:53AM (#17660332) Journal
    whoa whoa whoa, if anyone should be scolded its this guy. While I truly believe the evidence points towards man made global climate change it would be dumb o make skeptics into outcasts. This is science not religion, we shouldn't be excommunicating scientists, at best we should drown out "bad" research with more "good research". its the same argument of censorship of bad speech versus offering more good speech
  • Firm but fair (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CmdrGravy (645153) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @04:02AM (#17660394) Homepage
    It's obviously wrong to stop anyone contributing to any side on the Global Climate Change debate but just because Weatherfolk aren't allowed to do forecasts on TV doesn't mean they can't contribute papers on the subject and join in the debate.

    The aim here seems to be to stop Weather presenters pretending that Global Climate Change isn't happening, the consequence weather presenters putting forward this point of view is that the viewing public will most likely believe them rather than all the "boffins predicting climate chaos" with the result that the public may have a very skewed view of what the current real scientific thinking on the matter is.

    If weather presenters claimed that rain was in fact Gods tears and this had been scientifically proven then you'd expect him or her to lose their job or at least be removed to doing something where they are not in contact with the public and this is similar to what seems to be going on here.
  • The source (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lars T. (470328) <Lars.TraegerNO@SPAMgooglemail.com> on Thursday January 18, 2007 @04:08AM (#17660440) Journal
    "Posted by Marc Morano [sourcewatch.org]"
  • Editors, RTFA (Score:5, Informative)

    by 1u3hr (530656) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @04:12AM (#17660474)
    WTF does "Apparently in the Senate, at least one scientist wants to put a permanent stop.." mean? The scientist isn't in the Senate. It looks like the blog linked is by a Senator. How about linking to the actual person who made the suggestion, and not this inflammatory shit?

    No one suggested a "permanent stop to any arguments over Global Warming" as the summary says.

    The original article is JUNK CONTROVERSY NOT JUNK SCIENCE [weather.com], posted a month ago actually.

    If a meteorologist has an AMS Seal of Approval, which is used to confer legitimacy to TV meteorologists, then meteorologists have a responsibility to truly educate themselves on the science of global warming. (One good resource if you don't have a lot of time is the Pew Center's Climate Change 101.) Meteorologists are among the few people trained in the sciences who are permitted regular access to our living rooms. And in that sense, they owe it to their audience to distinguish between solid, peer-reviewed science and junk political controversy. If a meteorologist can't speak to the fundamental science of climate change, then maybe the AMS shouldn't give them a Seal of Approval. Clearly, the AMS doesn't agree that global warming can be blamed on cyclical weather patterns. It's like allowing a meteorologist to go on-air and say that hurricanes rotate clockwise and tsunamis are caused by the weather. It's not a political statement...it's just an incorrect statement.
  • I was incensed when I heard that a 24 year old political appointee was altering [badastronomy.com] Nasa publications on the big bang.
    I was incensed when global warming was dismissed [badastronomy.com] as even a possible cause for climate change.
    But any researcher or rational thinker should be equally as incensed at this attempt to arbitrarily close off an avenue of inquiry - it's the same tactic, only in the opposite direction, and it stinks just as much.

    Seeking to politically silence ANY side of a scientific issue is a slippery slope. The above-mentioned examples are probably repulsive to most slashdotters. De-certifying climatologists would simply be turnabout - and equally as invalid as when the tactic was employed by the existing anti-science administration. Should we seek to eliminate a theory completely because it's not our theory? No. If we want to be sure that we're moving forward with a solid theoretical foundation, each theory must be tested and discarded based on merit and evidence alone. While the circumstantial evidence for global warming is strong, there will be a time in the future when we can either prove or disprove it. Should the improbable happen and human-influenced global warming be disproved, do we want to be seen as the proverbial church that silenced Galileo?
  • Apparently (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lars T. (470328) <Lars.TraegerNO@SPAMgooglemail.com> on Thursday January 18, 2007 @04:16AM (#17660510) Journal
    Apparently on Slashdot neither the Slashdotters, nor the editor, nor the submitter bother to actually RTFA. The only relation to the Senate is that the author of that BLOG entry is does PR work for the majority chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works
  • by Per Abrahamsen (1397) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @04:49AM (#17660708) Homepage
    Excuse my language, but what the fuck is that?

    I have been working in the scientific community my whole professional life, and I have never heard of a "certified scientist" before. There are various academic degrees and awards you can have (like Ph.D or Nobel prize), and there are positions you can hold (like associate professor). You don't lose the first, and losing the second means you get fired. No "certification". And you don't need either to be considered a scientist by the community.

    If you want to establish a pecking order among scientists, you look at how many publications he has, the rating of the journals the publications appear in, and how many other scientist quote your results.

    And you don't have to agree with the consensus to be considered a scientist, take Fred Hoyle for example. He never accepted Big Bang, and had various controversial opinions on other areas as well, he won his last major scientific award in 1997, four years before his death.
  • by Trestran (715384) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @04:51AM (#17660716)
    Let's take a look at what she actually said, shall we?
    I'd like to take that suggestion a step further. If a meteorologist has an AMS Seal of Approval, which is used to confer legitimacy to TV meteorologists, then meteorologists have a responsibility to truly educate themselves on the science of global warming. ... Meteorologists are among the few people trained in the sciences who are permitted regular access to our living rooms. And in that sense, they owe it to their audience to distinguish between solid, peer-reviewed science and junk political controversy
    That's a pretty darn reasonable point of view, and very much pro science. It just so happens that scientific consensus does in fact support anthropogenic global warming. Just look at the rigorously peer reviewed reports of the IPCC, and the endorsements of a vast number of scientific institutes in the world out there, and pretty much all the climatological and meteorological organizations in the US. And when looked at peer reviewed science, no real opposing scientific theory can be found at this point, see a study published by Nature, "Beyond the ivory tower: The scientific consensus on climate change [sciencemag.org]".

    Now, the part of her statement this controversy is about, which is making just speaking on the actual scientific work out there part of the requirements of the seal of approval, rather then spreading misinformation not based on peer reviewed science. But what is the purpose of this seal. Well, let's check their site [ametsoc.org]:
    The AMS Seal of Approval was launched in 1957 as a way to recognize on-air meteorologists for their sound delivery of weather information to the general public.
    And they now have a specific certificate for broadcast meteorologists, which states its purpose as:
    In January 2005, the AMS introduced a new program called the Certified Broadcast Meteorologist (CBM) program, intended to raise the professional standard in broadcast meteorology and encourage a broader range of scientific understanding, especially with respect to environmental issues. The goal of the CBM program is to certify that the holder meets specific educational and experience criteria and has passed rigorous testing in their knowledge and communication of meteorology and related sciences needed to be an effective broadcast meteorologist.
    Hey, how about that. It's about giving accurate information on the actual scientific understanding out there, and communicating this in an accurate and effective way. Not at all about "censoring", this call is merely suggesting that people who are certified under this hold themselves to the peer reviewed science out there on climate change. Which matches remarkably well with the stated purpose of the certification.

    I'm not exactly sure if it is a good idea though, but this blogger linked by the /. write up is misrepresent things and has pulled the statements out of context.
  • by Kidbro (80868) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @05:14AM (#17660874)
    This is not censorship. This is about single organisation, the American Meteorological Society, that apparently sometimes chooses to give their formal approval of a specific indivudual. Essentialy they're saying "we think this dude knows his shit, you can trust him". If any person who they have given this approval start sprouting complete gibberish (in their view), of course they can then say "nope, we were wrong, we don't think you can trust him".
    What's the fucking problem here? They're not revoking his right to speak. They're just saying that they don't trust him any more. Are we under some damn obligation to approve of everybody's ideas, just because they're allowed to speak about them?

    This is a non issue. Go get upset about the rights that are actually being taken away from you, not about this triviality.

  • by Z00L00K (682162) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @08:00AM (#17661942) Homepage
    In any discussion of a theme you should always allow some headroom. There is no absolute truth about climate! The earth has had a lot warmer as well as a lot colder climate than we have today. Even the oxygen level has been varying throughout the millenia.

    When it comes down to the climate we are still running probabilities and it is known that the sun-spot cycle has a considerable effect as well as various gases. Some cools the climate down others makes it warmer.

    The current winter is (at least here in northern Europe so far) the warmest and wettest for a long time, but last winter was a rather cold one. What we actually are missing is reliable detailed weather data for the last million years, which we would need if we are to make a detailed prognosis. Unfortunately we don't have that so we will need to go for the second best alternative by doing estimations of trends of various curves.

    Some analysis even estimates that if it weren't for the greenhouse gas emissions that we have today we would have had a new ice age. If that's the truth or not - hard to tell but it's an interesting thought.

    So many factors are involved that it's not easy, and there is a difference between short-time trends, long-time trends and threshold switches. For example the El Niño is a typical threshold switch effect with considerable results in weather change.

    By all means, this doesn't mean that we shouldn't cut down our emissions - of course we should, even it it's only for the reason that we are working on finite resources of uranium, oil and coal.

    So in the end - let meteorologists have different views, this will keep the general public alert. A single-headed view will just cause disinterest in a question. Or maybe that's what the actual idea is? Let the general public be so disinterested in a question so that the question will self-die.

    "Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get.", quote claimed to be by Mark Twain. - This is still true.

  • by night_flyer (453866) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @09:29AM (#17663042) Homepage
    back in the 80s that were yelling about an ice age is on the way? What about the assertion that we havent seen teperatures like this SINCE... um Since? that means it happened before? what caused the Ice age, and the medieval warm period? are we warming up? probbably, though the people in Malibu may disagree at the moment. Is it man made? doubtful. Scientists are OFTEN wrong, and silenceing those that they do not agree with is not the answer, a scientists job is to PROVE them wrong.

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