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Climate Change and the Integrity of Science 1046

Posted by Soulskill
from the but-it's-really-cold-today dept.
blau tips news of an open letter from 255 members of the US National Academy of Sciences, including 11 Nobel laureates, decrying the "recent escalation of political assaults on scientists in general and on climate scientists in particular." The letter lays out the basics of the scientific method, and explains how certainly highly-regarded theories — such as the big bang, evolution, and Earth's origin — are commonly accepted due to the strength of the evidence supporting them, though "fame still awaits anyone who could show these theories to be wrong." It goes on to "call for an end to McCarthy-like threats of criminal prosecution against our colleagues based on innuendo and guilt by association, the harassment of scientists by politicians seeking distractions to avoid taking action, and the outright lies being spread about them." According to the Guardian, the letter "originated with a number of NAS members who were frustrated at the misinformation being spread by climate deniers and the assaults on scientists by some policy-makers who hope to delay or avoid making policy decisions and are hiding behind the recent controversy around emails and minor errors in the IPCC."
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Climate Change and the Integrity of Science

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  • by Jurily (900488) <[jurily] [at] [gmail.com]> on Friday May 07, 2010 @06:48PM (#32133658)

    In science vs media,

  • It won't work (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SomeJoel (1061138) on Friday May 07, 2010 @06:49PM (#32133664)
    As long as the average person thinks the relative likelihood of "science being right" and "nutball propaganda being right" is about the same or worse, nothing will change. It pays to keep people uneducated: it's easier to scare, persuade, and misinform them.
  • Integrety (Score:3, Insightful)

    by riverat1 (1048260) on Friday May 07, 2010 @06:49PM (#32133668)

    Too bad the denialosphere doesn't have to live up to the same standards of integrity that scientists have to.

  • Specifically... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by timeOday (582209) on Friday May 07, 2010 @06:50PM (#32133676)
    Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's lawsuit against former UVA faculty Michael Mann [washingtonpost.com]. In criticising Cuccinelli's lawsuit, I'm not even saying he has to admit or agree with everything or anything that Mann wrote. But political persecution of scientists is bad... like 15th century Vatican bad.
  • No mention (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rmushkatblat (1690080) on Friday May 07, 2010 @06:51PM (#32133682)
    And, of course, they say nothing about the subversion of the peer review process discussed in the emails.
  • by Foobar of Borg (690622) on Friday May 07, 2010 @06:53PM (#32133688)
    All these ridiculous denials of basic scientific principles reminds me of the Flat Earth Society [wikipedia.org]. It's interesting to read about them because, no matter how much evidence was accumulated, they could always fashion some reason why the Earth was flat and the evidence was misunderstood. Hell, even when satellite images showed a round Earth, Shenton (FES head) remarked: "It's easy to see how a photograph like that could fool the untrained eye."

    We have essentially the same thing today. No matter how much evidence is shown for evolution, anthropogenic global warming, and so on, the fundamentalist wackos will rail against it and find some rationale for continuing in their thoroughly disproved ideas. About 25% of the American public cannot in any way be convinced, no matter how much evidence is shown them. These are the same people who think Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11, and who still believe Obama is a Kenyan citizen and George W Bush actually cares about them and their Christian religion.

  • Main points (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mangu (126918) on Friday May 07, 2010 @06:56PM (#32133704)

    TFA says:

    (i) The planet is warming due to increased concentrations of heat-trapping gases in our atmosphere. A snowy winter in Washington does not alter this fact.
      (ii) Most of the increase in the concentration of these gases over the last century is due to human activities, especially the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation.
      (iii) Natural causes always play a role in changing Earth's climate, but are now being overwhelmed by human-induced changes.
      (iv) Warming the planet will cause many other climatic patterns to change at speeds unprecedented in modern times, including increasing rates of sea-level rise and alterations in the hydrologic cycle. Rising concentrations of carbon dioxide are making the oceans more acidic.
      (v) The combination of these complex climate changes threatens coastal communities and cities, our food and water supplies, marine and freshwater ecosystems, forests, high mountain environments, and far more.

    Exactly.

    The problem is political, not scientific. Exxon & Co. have managed to convince the tin-foil-hat gang that all scientists are united in a vast conspiracy against people who own SUVs.

    Scientists are scientists, not marketeers, how can they convince people who believe the world is 6000 years old that CO2 does absorb infrared radiation?

  • Here's a quote (Score:2, Insightful)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Friday May 07, 2010 @07:01PM (#32133732) Journal

    Many recent assaults on climate science and, more disturbingly, on climate scientists by climate change deniers, are typically driven by special interests or dogma, not by an honest effort to provide an alternative theory that credibly satisfies the evidence

    I agree with this quote. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true: climate change promoters are doing the same thing. Here's one example [slashdot.org], and it was against a guy (Lomborg) who actually accepted the climate change thesis: he was only disagreeing on what should be done about it.

    Unfortunately asking a politicized field to not act political is like asking a river to run in reverse up the Himalayas. Nice try, but won't accomplish much: especially if you are demanding it from only one side.

  • Re:Bad analogy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Friday May 07, 2010 @07:02PM (#32133740) Homepage Journal

    We either accept the methods by which the big bang, evolution, and climate change (along with pretty much everything else we think we know about how the world works) are understood, or we don't. If we do, then the economics are irrelevant: the universe doesn't care about our economy. If we don't, then we should have a better reason for this decision than saying "the motivations are different," because the universe also doesn't care about motivation, at least as far as we can tell.

    In other words, you're letting your politics interfere with your understanding of science. Thanks for providing such a useful demonstration of how this works.

  • by unitron (5733) on Friday May 07, 2010 @07:06PM (#32133764) Homepage Journal

    "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!"

  • Re:No mention (Score:5, Insightful)

    by techno-vampire (666512) on Friday May 07, 2010 @07:08PM (#32133778) Homepage
    I was thinking the same thing. Apparently, subverting the peer review process to keep contrarian papers from being published is OK; complaining about it in public is EVIL.
  • Re:No mention (Score:5, Insightful)

    by moogsynth (1264404) on Friday May 07, 2010 @07:13PM (#32133818)

    I was thinking the same thing. Apparently, subverting the peer review process to keep contrarian papers from being published is OK; complaining about it in public is EVIL.

    You're right. Here are some of the conclusions the scientists have made about climate change.

    • (i) The planet is warming due to increased concentrations of heat-trapping gases in our atmosphere. A snowy winter in Washington does not alter this fact.
    • (ii) Most of the increase in the concentration of these gases over the last century is due to human activities, especially the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation.
    • (iii) Natural causes always play a role in changing Earth's climate, but are now being overwhelmed by human-induced changes.
    • (iv) Warming the planet will cause many other climatic patterns to change at speeds unprecedented in modern times, including increasing rates of sea-level rise and alterations in the hydrologic cycle. Rising concentrations of carbon dioxide are making the oceans more acidic.
    • (v) The combination of these complex climate changes threatens coastal communities and cities, our food and water supplies, marine and freshwater ecosystems, forests, high mountain environments, and far more.

    Well go on then, refute them. I eagerly await your reasoned discourse replete with accurate facts and figures explaining why it is all, in fact, a crock and a sham! If the evil money-grabbing scientific conspiracy community won't accept or peer review your findings, then I'm sure Slashdot will. What have you got to lose, eh?

  • Re:No mention (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BitHive (578094) on Friday May 07, 2010 @07:14PM (#32133824) Homepage

    This attitude is like saying you're never going to use open source again until all open source developers admit that the Debian OpenSSL incident proved that open source is fundamentally and flawed.

  • Re:It won't work (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Obfuscant (592200) on Friday May 07, 2010 @07:20PM (#32133854)
    And now all we need is to get loud-mouth aggressive "scientists" to stop labeling everyone they don't agree with as "nutball propaganda". The scientific method doesn't have "keep shouting the other guy down until he goes away" as part of the process. The scientific method doesn't resort to name calling and insult as a means of proving the hypothesis.

    When I read this summary, I thought "hurray, the antagonistic, dogma-preaching 'scientists' were finally going to be told that debate IS allowed and questioning the data and methods IS allowed and you don't get to question the ethics of the guy with the opposing ideas just because he disagrees with you." But no, it's the ones who need control that are complaining about being picked on. The poor dears, they behave boorishly in public and then cry about how boorishly they are being treated.

    It pays to keep people uneducated: it's easier to scare, persuade, and misinform them.

    And that's why every time you ask a strong AGW proponent to support his claims he resorts to name calling and saying things like "it's a fact" and "the debate is over". Never explain how you got to your conclusion, pretend the other guy is an idiot for asking, and you'll have "uneducated, scared, misinformed" people at your feet. And the scareder they are, the more money they'll keep pumping into research on how to "fix the crisis."

    I know "climate scientists" who behave exactly that way, so pretending they don't exist won't earn you any points in this discussion.

  • by Phrogman (80473) on Friday May 07, 2010 @07:21PM (#32133860) Homepage

    to be harvested amongst the people who don't understand Science, specifically Climate Changes. Its much easier to convince people its all conspiracy to waste their money and that they should oppose it, than it is to educate them in something extremely complex and involved - and which we are still figuring out.
    The Climate Change deniers can muster a lot of political capital by marshalling all the ignorant masses against making changes that might cost them money but are intended to be for the good of us all.
    Personally, I expect humanity will do precisely *nothing* that is effective to deal with climate change and that millions of people will have to die first before the rest of us accept the fact that our lifestyle and population growth has been writing checks we couldn't afford, and now the collection agency is here for their money. Lots of corporations owned by rich individuals have made trillions of dollars off of the world's resources without worrying about environmental impact - now we deal with it. Tons of damage has been done to the environment by those same companies and we are left to pay the bill. Our great grandchildren will *still* be paying that bill I expect, those that aren't dead that is.
    Do I want to see responsible research, yes of course. Will it happen? I am sure its happening now. Will the media report on it and the average human learn to understand it? No way. The Media has no interest in dispensing the truth, the average person is too stupid to understand, and doesn't want to hear anything that implies *they* have to make sacrifices and can't get the latest shiney.
    When enough humans have died that we no longer can cause global warming, thats when things will settle down again. Humanity is too stupid and shortsighted. Its much more important to figure out whats happening on America's Got Talent...
    Yes, I am a bit cynical and bitter today, what clued you in? :P

  • by MadUndergrad (950779) on Friday May 07, 2010 @07:24PM (#32133878)

    Dyson doesn't deny the science - he disagrees with the severity and importance of the consequences. I think he's wrong, but he's no denier.

  • Re:No mention (Score:2, Insightful)

    by techno-vampire (666512) on Friday May 07, 2010 @07:25PM (#32133886) Homepage
    Well go on then, refute them.

    I am not a climate scientist. I don't even play one on Slashdot. I don't claim to be qualified either to refute or to prove those claims. I am, however, pointing out that any time somebody who is, in fact, qualified, claims to have had a contrarian paper rejected for publication, the AGW fanatics attack him like starving piranha.

  • Re:Main points (Score:5, Insightful)

    by etymxris (121288) on Friday May 07, 2010 @07:30PM (#32133912)

    Academia can be very insular. It's publish or perish and it's difficult to get published if the editors think you're part of the "tin-foil-hat gang" or being paid by Exxon. There is also a great bias against publishing negative results. Climate science is full of models that are plugged into a computer and out comes a result. These models depend on many variables, some of which are measured, some of which are estimated, and some of which are guessed. In addition the whole algorithmic process by which the "model" works is at best an approximation. Certain methods of modeling future climate result in lots of warming, some less. Right now there are large margins of error and much disagreement about exactly how "much" climate change we will experience.

    Now, it certainly seems plausible that there are models out there with variables and assumptions that result in no warming, or a cooling. What is the likelihood these would get published based purely on their results? Not good. Well then what is it about a model that makes it better than others? It's ability to "predict future changes" when plugged in with past data. However, as we go back in time we quickly start losing variables in quantity and precision. 100 years of good solid data (if it's even that much) is not much when it comes to modeling how the Earth's climate changes over it's vast history.

    We are at least aware of many radical changes in climate that had nothing to do with humans over the Earth's history. If we can't account for those, then we are woefully unprepared to predict future changes.

    The issues are very complicated, but it's not quite correct to say that scientists are solely interested in "truth". Academia has a culture, and this culture can create biases. These biases can affect entire research programs in ways that are more nuanced than simple conspiracies.

  • by medcalf (68293) on Friday May 07, 2010 @07:38PM (#32133988) Homepage

    If the catastrophic AGW hypothesis is correct, all of these must be true, in order (that is, falsifying any earlier point falsifies all later points from the point of view of the theory):

    1. The temperature of the earth is warming over time.
    2. The amount of this warming is unprecedented.
    3. The warming will continue past the point where the earth's feedback mechanisms can correct it.
    4. The warming will cause catastrophic impacts to life on earth, particularly humans.
    5. The warming is caused by human activity, if not entirely, then mostly.

    If the first is false, then there is no global warming. If the second is false, there is no way to prove the third, because we would have examples of the warming going past this point and then correcting. If the third is false, then we need take no action. If the fourth is false, then we need take no action. If the fifth is false, then any action we could take would likely be meaningless.

    The scientific method being what it is, and with the hypothesis claimed to be proven beyond reasonable doubt, then there must be significant evidence and reasonable argument to draw each of these conclusions. I haven't seen it, and I've been looking for a while. Normally, the "argument" rapidly devolves into name calling. But I'm willing to try, and so I have some questions, starting with the first point:

    What is the optimum temperature (or range) of the Earth?

    When has it been at that temperature in the past?

    Has it ever been outside that temperature in the past?

    How, specifically, do we know this?

    In particular, how does one define the temperature of the Earth, and how does then measure that?

  • Re:Main points (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mangu (126918) on Friday May 07, 2010 @07:40PM (#32133992)

    Academia has a culture, and this culture can create biases

    Maybe. Now go look at the changes in the human condition since the scientific method was created in the 17th century and compare the evolution in these 400 years with the 40000 years that preceded it.

  • Climate Deniers? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by frist (1441971) on Friday May 07, 2010 @07:41PM (#32134002)
    So scientists who challenge the prevailing politically-correct liberal thesis are "climate deniers" - this is the basic problem. Even the term is ridiculous. Compare it to "holocaust denier". The holocaust was undeniably real - because there are still some living eye witnesses, photographs, original videos, documents etc. that clearly prove that it happened. What does it mean to be a "climate denier"? No one denies there is "climate". For too long people who challenged the "science" behind global warming were shouted down and ridiculed by their "peers". Now for a little bit, the shoe is on the other foot, and they don't like it a bit. BTW - CFL bulbs are a perfect example of why this type of "science" really has to be tried before accepted, and not pitch a fit if it is challenged - http://www.energystar.gov/ia/products/lighting/cfls/downloads/CFL_Cleanup_and_Disposal.pdf [energystar.gov] Just think about that - what about places where there is no window, where the only ventilation is forced air. Give me an incandescent bulb anyday. If it breaks, worst you worry about is a cut. When it burns out, you can safely toss it w/out worry about what its components will do to the environment or your local groundwater. Not to mention that the CFLs do not last anywhere as long as promised if you don't follow their optimal usage pattern (leave on for at least 15 mins, etc.) Certainly there are places where they are appropriate, but "environmentalists" pushing them down everyone's throat, and corporate greed (Walmart) jumping on the green bandwagon and being dishonest with people - you wonder why people with a brain are skeptical? If they posted the cleanup instructions next to the bulbs on the shelf, would people still be buying these?
  • by Wyatt Earp (1029) on Friday May 07, 2010 @07:42PM (#32134016)

    All science is about predicting the future?

    Humm. So a paleontologist studying the Mosasaurs of the Western Interior Seaway is studying the future?

    Or theories about the evolution of dinosaurs into birds is studying the future?

  • by CorporateSuit (1319461) on Friday May 07, 2010 @07:44PM (#32134032)
    The reverse is also true. I would argue that the fundamentalists on evolution's side are much, much worse. When I point out that dinosaurs couldn't have evolved their way through the mass extinction, because it would have required rapid, species-universal evolution (otherwise there would not be the threat of mass extinction), the few responses that aren't ad-hominem attacks are handwaves or the infamous: "You obviously don't understand evolution..." which is equivalent to "It's true, because it's in the bible." argument.

    Basically, the problem is that the scientific principals are being undermined. It's hard to buy into theories when observation so commonly disagrees with prediction. Flat Earthers are funny because they refute the observable world -- but so do the proponents of the "Climate change" movement, when every predictive model made falls flat. Evolution, climate change (as it's understood), and other theories are commonly refuted by the observable world or have no observable models -- so they are not even true science, rather just thought experiments and allegations!

    Evolution, for example, was crafted with a complete lack of data in its time, which has since had data piled around it in order to verify/vindicate its origins. This is bad science and bad practice. BAD. It also is non disprovable -- as an experiment, conjure whatever evidence it would take to refute evolution[climate change] in your eyes. This should be simple, if it is a true science. Then, turn around and offer the imaginatory refutation as fact to someone who believes in evolution[climate change] as fiercely as you do, and say "since evolution[climate change] can't explain that, evolution[climage change] has been wrong all along!" and watch the fireworks. They will warp the very foundations of reality to show you how you're wrong, don't understand evolution, and that evolution TOTALLY explains it. Is that really science? No. It's religion and politics posturing itself as science. It is scientific blasphemy and it should be cause for serious concern, rather than considered PROOF THAT IT'S TRUE! as it is now.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 07, 2010 @07:45PM (#32134040)

    No, you do not understand the risks of AGW. It's not that the warming is unprecedented (your point #2). It's that the warming will cause effects that will make it hard to support the seven billion humans living on Earth. For example, a sea level rise of one meter will cause hundreds of millions of people to have to relocate, at a cost of trillions of dollars. It doesn't matter that the sea level was hundreds of meters high at some point in the distant past. In short, it's the effect on humans that is the danger of AGW, not the effect on the planet.

    Please take the time to understand what you're arguing against -- this is the main problem of the so-called "skeptics". They don't even know what they're skeptical of!

  • by night_flyer (453866) on Friday May 07, 2010 @07:49PM (#32134072) Homepage

    as opposed to the "other side" who stand to lose a lot of financial backing/future profits/political power if global warming is shown to be a hoax... follow the money on BOTH sides of the argument... you might learn something

  • Re:It won't work (Score:1, Insightful)

    by osgeek (239988) on Friday May 07, 2010 @07:53PM (#32134102) Homepage Journal

    The fact that the parent was labeled a troll only confirms the pattern I've witnessed, even in Scientifically-minded communities like /., of shouting down or censoring skeptics.

    As an adamant supporter of the Scientific method, I'm very disappointed that asking for baseline data and manipulation algorithms has been met with stonewalling and name calling.

    Proponents of AGW are asking for societies to completely revise their infrastructures and policies. They should expect a high degree of skepticism and deal with it head on rather than politicking, obfuscating, and downright covering things up.

    It saddens me that the AGW crew has forced supporters of the Scientific method like myself into an awkward position when discussing other cornerstone issues like evolution and cosmology. We've all been painted with the brush of religion because some Scientists forgot their place and their core principles in pursuit of Being Right(tm).

    Rather than continuing to escalate the rhetoric, climatologists need to return to their core data and analysis methods to present their cases in a fair and rational manner.

  • Re:No mention (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rakshasa Taisab (244699) on Friday May 07, 2010 @07:56PM (#32134136) Homepage
    While you don't need to prove or disprove AGW, you _DO_ need to prove that those rejected papers upheld proper scientific standards. Else you're just another denier shouting CONSPIRACY.
  • by RenderSeven (938535) on Friday May 07, 2010 @07:57PM (#32134154)
    Exactly! The thing I take equal issue with is that *any* criticism of AGW activism is immediately dismissed as AGW denial, and it's not true. I agree the earth is warming, agree that we caused at least some and maybe even all, and buy into 95% of the science. But if I point out that maybe some of the proposed regulations in response to AGW are a bit silly and ineffectual and certainly costly, I'm a 'denier'. There is at least some good science that suggests we will not be dead in 10 years, and that science should not be dismissed out-of-hand as heresy. The pro-AGW fanatics are just as guilty as suppressing criticism and debate as the anti-AGW fanatics.

    If nothing else, I would expect the /. crowd to be at least a little skeptical of *anything* that causes vast sums of money to change hands.
  • by Olentangy (118364) on Friday May 07, 2010 @08:04PM (#32134226)

    No one is proposing trillion dollar economic changes based on the big bang theory. They are proposing such changes based on AGW theories.

    If the big bang is wrong, some physicists will be embarrassed, if AWG theory is wrong, trillions of dollars will have been wasted.

  • Re:Politics (Score:4, Insightful)

    by vxice (1690200) on Friday May 07, 2010 @08:07PM (#32134262)
    the sinners are not the politicians but the people who vote for them. Until we get people to think about the issues or just remove themselves from the process we will continue to get crap politicians. Blaming anyone else, at least here in the U.S., is taking the easy way out and will not fix anything. Although I would like to know what form of government you suggest.
  • by Glass Goldfish (1492293) on Friday May 07, 2010 @08:11PM (#32134294)

    Whenever a religious figure speaks of fire and brimstone, I take it with a grain of salt. Whenever a politician makes the claim that anyone who speaks against them is racist/immoral/greedy/stupid, I tend to think they're frauds. Why would I let the scientists make claims without doubting them? I'm not calling climatologists liars; I'm saying that they're acting like liars.

    Can anyone seriously say that evolution is as proven as Newton's Laws of Motion on the scale of billiard table? Or that our understanding of the Big Bang is as complete as our understanding of muscles contracting? So why choose evolution, the Big Bang and the age of the Earth? Don't get me wrong, I think that all three likely happened, but I wouldn't roll them out unless I had a political agenda. I've heard a variety of estimates for the age of the Universe, I haven't heard of anyone contesting the law of conservation of mass. Why not use photosynthesis and covalent bonds as established principles of science?

    The central problem with the open letter is that they suggest that all scientists are apolitical and possess peerless moral character. That they can be trusted to police themselves and everyone else should just stay out of their business. Any organization or group that has been given the authority to police itself won't. Just because there's a witch hunt, doesn't mean there aren't witches. Given the trillions of dollars at stake, I'm perfectly happy to have a few annoyed PhDs to ensure public accountability. And government overreach is always a concern, remember that the Australian firewall was sold to the public by saying that it is protecting people from child porn. But somewhere there's a happy medium between anarchy and totalitarianism.

  • Re:Integrety (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Friday May 07, 2010 @08:14PM (#32134312) Journal

    Too bad the denialosphere doesn't have to live up to the same standards of integrity that scientists have to.

    Too bad the AGW-promoting scientists didn't live up to it first.

    If they'd made their data available in the first place, so others could check their work, we wouldn't be having this problem now.

    Instead they tried to suppress debate and lost or corrupted the original data, to the point that if there IS a problem we won't be able to reliably document it.

    Sorry, that's not "science".

  • by rrohbeck (944847) on Friday May 07, 2010 @08:17PM (#32134358)

    "If you thought that science was certain - well, that is just an error on your part."
    - Richard Feynman

  • Re:It won't work (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MikeBabcock (65886) <mtb-slashdot@mikebabcock.ca> on Friday May 07, 2010 @08:17PM (#32134364) Homepage Journal

    Scientists in this letter are not however encouraging people to educate themselves. They're encouraging blind acceptance.

    I don't care which side you agree with in any debate -- its the sign of a weak argument to require the silencing of your critics.

  • Re:Here's a quote (Score:3, Insightful)

    by blueg3 (192743) on Friday May 07, 2010 @08:18PM (#32134374)

    Regrettably, that's true. It gets complicated because the side with all the scientists is almost certainly right. However, a lot of the "everyone elses" on either side are driven by special interest, money, dogma, what have you. It's embarrassing to me (as a non-climatologist scientist) that a lot of environmentalists (for lack of a better term) are approaching the situation no better than the global warming denialists.

  • by oddTodd123 (1806894) on Friday May 07, 2010 @08:18PM (#32134376)
    Not sure why this is modded insightful. There are important qualifiers to all of your statements in order for them to matter in this discussion:

    The temperature of the earth is warming over time.

    It only matters if the temperature of the earth is warming through the timeframe that humanity has been settled throughout the globe, or at least within a range of climate zones.

    The amount of this warming is unprecedented.

    Again, this only matters within the relatively short timeframe that humanity has been settled throughout the globe, or at least within a range of climate zones.

    The warming will continue past the point where the earth's feedback mechanisms can correct it.

    ... in the short term. It doesn't matter if the earth can correct in 100,000 years. What matters is whether the earth can correct what we are doing in 100 years.

    The warming will cause catastrophic impacts to life on earth, particularly humans.

    This one is okay, but how falsifying this falsify point 5? Also, this is one of the few points you listed that is pretty well proven. See sea level rise [wikipedia.org], which will have catastrophic economic consequences at the very least.

    The warming is caused by human activity, if not entirely, then mostly.

    This is totally irrelevant. What matters is whether humans can do something to reduce the warming, and only that they can do enough to avoid a tipping point at which catastrophe is inevitable. Yes, this implies that humans have something to do with the warming if one is arguing for reduced emissions as a solution, but who knows what percentage it is? If we are responsible for 30% of the warming, will reducing warming by 20% reduce the likelihood of catastrophic warming?

  • by Fareq (688769) on Friday May 07, 2010 @08:26PM (#32134474)

    I'm not a climate scientist.

    I also am not a believer in Anthropogenic Global Warming. I'm not convinced one way or the other. I suspect that sufficient evidence to reach a reasonable conclusion exists. I doubt we could "prove beyond a reasonable doubt" one way or the other -- we seem to understand too little still -- but we could probably make a fairly convincing statement. Unfortunately, bad political motivations on both sides (environmental extremism on one side, and drill, baby, drill [for lack of a better name] on the other side) for the evidence to be clearly and accurately portrayed. Most [vocal] players in this space are partisans and not scientists (even if they are "scientists" if they are partisans then they are not doing "science")

    But, I have a rough explanation of the answer to one of your questions.

    > How, specifically, do we know this?

    Those graphs of global mean temperature that you've seen bandied about? Well, the temperature data come from a variety of sources.

    We have temperature data in some areas that go back to 1850-1880. The number of weather stations and the accuracy of the measurements have improved in the last 160 years, but we have direct measurements for this period. This is called the "instrumental period." It is probably pretty safe to assume that, for measurements taken from the same weather station, the data are sufficiently accurate measurements of temperature at that station.

    Any records that you see from before 1850-1880 are proxies. We have found several data sources that we have data for (or can measure today) that appear to be reasonable proxies for temperature in an area. Not being a climate scientist or expert in this area, I can't tell you whether they are highly accurate proxies or not. Maybe somebody else can weigh in on that. I'm not saying that they are not accurate. I have no information, and I haven't seen any significant evidence one way or the other.

    According to Wikipedia, sources such as ice cores, tree-ring widths, borehole temperatures and others are providing proxy temperature data for about the last 2000 years in the northern hemisphere, and a briefer period in the southern hemisphere and the tropics. These records are at least qualitatively backed by human history records... basically, human writings that survive today that in some way mention the weather or climate of a given region at a given time. These records are generally considered accurate only to annual averages.

    Temperature records from 2000 years ago to roughly 800,000 years ago are estimated based on measurements from antarctic ice cores. These records do not provide detail about short time frames... measurements using these refer to periods of time in kiloyears. Presumably, they are believed to provide a reconstruction of temperature with some degree of accuracy over wide swaths of time.

    Beyond 800,000 years? dunno. There is a graph out there of the last 5 million years. I have no idea what backs it.

    Unfortunately, these different sources are generally drawn onto a single graph with only one line. Probably because this graph has 2 useful properties
    (i) it is easily read by people with no scientific background whatsoever and
    (ii) it visually represents the desired outcome (showing that the earth is warming faster than ever before)

    A more honest graph that used the ice cores, for example, would run all the way from 800 kyr ago to today using only the proxy data from the ice core. Then another, separate graph (or line on the same graph) showing data from 2000 years ago to today using only tree-ring-width data, and then finally a third line from 1850ish to today using only temperature data measured from weather stations that have been in continuous operation for that time -- and ideally using only stations that are in geographic areas that have not been changed substantially (the whole "urban heat island" thing).

    Incidentally, if any of you out there are in possession of such a graph and can back up its sources (or provide me links to raw data that backs up those sources) I'd be interested in looking at them. It wouldn't, by itself, convince me... but it'd help a lot.

  • by rbrander (73222) on Friday May 07, 2010 @08:32PM (#32134540) Homepage

    I'm a proud skeptic, that is, somebody who wants to see evidence of extraordinary claims.

    George Monbiot has pointed out that "skeptic" is not an appropriate word for somebody who goes far out of their way to ignore evidence presented to them and seizes upon the thinnest contrary statements. That was his defense of the word "denier" and it started me using the word again. I remained skeptical until about five years ago, when the evidence started to look very convincing. Then the 2007 IPCC report won me over.

    What we're seeing the last few months is, to me, a fascinating study of how resistant people are to news they don't want to believe. The climate science has been slowly building up for decades, one peer-reviewed article after another, one dataset after another, the same story emerging from multiple angles. The scientific disputes dwindled away until we now have 97% of climate scientists surveyed last year on board with the same basic conclusions. Some thousands of scientists represented by the IPCC summary.

    Yes, Michael Crichton was correct that science isn't subject to voting and one guy can be right and a thousand wrong. But public policy makers should go with the preponderance of evidence, just like a court; leaning to the views of a small minority is not sound policy-making. If 97% of 1000 nuclear scientists thought a nuclear plant would blow up, would you build it?

    Then along comes "climategate" and everybody is actually told that they are being read a few sentences cherry-picked from thousands of E-mails, stripped of context. Hundreds of voices protest that the word "trick" is widely used for legitimate data manipulations.

    Nonetheless, not only do the denier voices, many of them from organizations shown to be funded by Exxon, immediately proclaim this to outweigh decades of work by a couple of battalions of PhDs, the general public starts polling sharp drops in agreement with climate-change theory that had slowly won them over.

    Conclusion: when people don't want to believe something because of its terrible costs, you have to convince them with a weight of evidence on the order of magnitude of 1000:1.

    A thousand to one. Oh, man, we get all the hard jobs.

  • Re:Integrety (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 07, 2010 @08:41PM (#32134650)

    Why is crap like this modded up? Does this person seriously believe every scientist was keeping AGW data in the dark? Is there really a lack of information available? And why should we trust this data to armchair scientists to begin with? The data gets released when the analysis is released

  • Re:It won't work (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shark (78448) on Friday May 07, 2010 @08:42PM (#32134660)

    I like how the summary mentions "climate deniers". Does anybody seriously deny that there is such a thing as climate? I thought it was all about it warming up (or not) because of human activity.

    For me it doesn't speak very well for the um... Climate believers(?) sense of rational argument. No, the opposing view isn't questioning our computer models or the accuracy of our data. Nope. They deny climate altogether!

  • Re:It won't work (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dr2chase (653338) on Friday May 07, 2010 @08:45PM (#32134690) Homepage
    This is somewhat different. The defenders of the Static Universe did not have Sagans and Sagans of dollars depending on the acceptance of the theory. If we took global warming as a drop-dead-serious problem, it would be the end of the coal industry, and business would be very different for the oil industry (plastics, we still need plastics). The auto industry not be on life support; it would be dead and buried.

    There is, in addition, the problem that we already have nice solid evidence of an earlier spring (the yearly spring dip in the Keeling Curve is beginning earlier), and we have a mechanism dead to rights for why increased CO2 should make the earth warmer. The science on this is not weak; our main problem is that we are trying to get data out of a noisy system, and there's no control. In contrast, the it's-not-happening crowd does not have a good explanation for why it should not be happening, nor do they have good data showing that it is not happening (noisy data has the annoying property that it proves nothing for nobody, neither presence or absence). They do sometimes say things that sound scientific, but those typically get holes punched in them with a quick visit to Wikipedia. So, not really.

    As far as "trying to shut up the other side", well, yeah, it gets f*cking frustrating, if you're not just arguing with other academics, but instead have to deal with a well-funded FUD and PR campaign, that can even afford to buy senators. This is not an ordinary "scientific debate".
  • by daem0n1x (748565) on Friday May 07, 2010 @08:57PM (#32134790)

    Wherever the money goes, wherever politicians make it go, it probably shouldnt have gone there.

    So, who should make it go? Blood-sucking corporations nobody has elected?

  • Re:It won't work (Score:4, Insightful)

    by quokkaZ (1780340) on Friday May 07, 2010 @09:01PM (#32134820)

    Rather than continuing to escalate the rhetoric, climatologists need to return to their core data and analysis methods to present their cases in a fair and rational manner.

    I do believe this has been going on for a long time now. It's called publishing in peer reviewed journals. Thousands of times.

    It seems that the published science is so compelling that every national science academy, scientific society and professional body of international standing that has expressed a public position has asserted the reality of AGW.

    If this reasoned published evidence is good enough for the leading bodies of world science, then I'd say you need some very cogent arguments to dispute it. Hand waving doesn't cut it.

    You are to brutally honest, full of it.

  • by tgibbs (83782) on Friday May 07, 2010 @09:10PM (#32134894)

    Now, it certainly seems plausible that there are models out there with variables and assumptions that result in no warming, or a cooling. What is the likelihood these would get published based purely on their results?

    Close to 100%. There are "fringe" journals such as the notorious Energy and Environment [sourcewatch.org] that are extremely friendly to critics of global warming. While not highly regarded by serious scientists, there is little doubt that E&E would publish such a model. Besides, one can publish one's models on the internet these days. Many of the models used by climate scientists are available to the public [realclimate.org] so one could get a head start by modifying an existing model. And there is little doubt that many of the fossil fuel companies would be happy to fund the development of such a model. Heck, I imagine you could get enough money to fund such a study just by asking for donations on right-wing websites. Isn't it curious that nobody has managed to produce such a model to date. Of course, maybe it isn't actually all that easy to come up with a model that is reasonably consistent with known physics, with the historical climate data, and with the climatic effects of "natural experiments" like volcanic eruptions, and yet does not predict substantial warming in response to continued CO2 emissions...

  • Re:Integrety (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Obfuscant (592200) on Friday May 07, 2010 @09:21PM (#32134988)
    The data gets released when the analysis is released

    You are confusing "nice, pretty plots in a journal article" with "data".

    Data is what one starts with. Journals do not want you to publish "data", it's boring and needs to be analyzed and worked up. Journals want procedures and results.

    Were journals to be filled with data, they'd be 1) huge, 2) even more expensive than they are now, and 3) boring. Were journals to publish data along with the manuscript, it would not have taken years and dumb luck to catch the "super scientist" who was duplicating his data and plots for years. No, I don't remember his name, and I don't remember enough of the details to google it.

    And why should we trust this data to armchair scientists to begin with?

    What is there not to trust? You do realize, I hope, that a large number of "climate scientists" are "armchair" in the sense they aren't trained as climate scientists to start with. And that a large amount of astronomical data comes from "armchair scientists". Science is science. You don't need a Ph.D to be a scientist.

    Does this person seriously believe every scientist was keeping AGW data in the dark?

    Do you seriously believe that every scientist is involved in AGW research so every scientist has AGW data?

    The guy who created the hockey stick brouhaha certainly did keep the data "in the dark", in that he did not release it to other scientists.

    Why is crap like this modded up?

    Because it isn't "crap", and maybe the moderators who modded it up are getting sick and tired of the name calling and insulting attitude of those who push AGW down the rest of our throats. Just a thought, Anonymous Coward.

  • Re:Here's a quote (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Foobar of Borg (690622) on Friday May 07, 2010 @09:24PM (#32135008)

    It's embarrassing to me (as a non-climatologist scientist) that a lot of environmentalists (for lack of a better term) are approaching the situation no better than the global warming denialists.

    Well, in terms of the public debate, this is really the problem. People are arguing about what Rush Limbaugh and Al Gore are arguing about global warming. It does not matter one whit what either of these idiots think about global warming. What matters are the actual facts and the actual science. Everything else is just mouth-breathers vibrating the wind.

  • by daem0n1x (748565) on Friday May 07, 2010 @09:26PM (#32135022)

    Yeah, right. Scientists don't know nuthing. I always discuss global warming with my neighbour Joe. He hasn't finished high school, but he knows a lot more than them puffed nuts, with them numbers and formulas, specially after he downs a few beers. He's a fuckin' genius!

    And what if he's wrong? It ain't like global warming's gonna affect us, anyway. Not like that Big Bang thingy, if that ain't a lie, oceans will rise and we're all gonna die!

  • Re:It won't work (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MrHanky (141717) on Friday May 07, 2010 @09:29PM (#32135050) Homepage Journal

    Oh, so because "Proponents of AGW are asking for societies to completely revise their infrastructures and policies" they must be wrong. Notice that your argument is fundamentally ideological. And still you demand respect for it?

  • Re:It won't work (Score:1, Insightful)

    by antirelic (1030688) on Friday May 07, 2010 @09:37PM (#32135106) Journal

    The reason there are people who are up in arms over the whole Climate Gate scandal is very simple to understand. Many of the scientists and the institutions that are involved in the research of Climate Change are also involved in the conversations surrounding "Social Justice", "Climate Justice", "Redistributive Change", and have hopped on the anti-American bandwagon during the Bush years instead of staying "very neutral".

    The extreme left are hip deep in the environmental movement. This clip from the Copenhagen Summit paints a disturbing picture for those who are not on board with the Marxist Dream:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNQqUACJ_Kw&feature=player_embedded# [youtube.com]!

    If people are really interested in advancing the truth behind Climate Change, they had better divorce themselves from the people in the above clip and fast. Yet, I dont think that is going to happen because these people and the proponents of AGW are one and the same.

    And let us not forget the blazen hypocrisy of the AGW leaders who fly in multiple 747's and drive around in stretched limo's during such conferences, and crack pot schemes such as "Cap and Trade" which reduces "carbon emissions" through impoverishment of western nations.

  • Re:Integrety (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Cyberax (705495) on Friday May 07, 2010 @09:40PM (#32135130)

    "If they'd made their data available in the first place, so others could check their work, we wouldn't be having this problem now."

    They did.

    "Instead they tried to suppress debate"

    They didn't do it.

    "and lost or corrupted the original data"

    They hasn't done it.

    "to the point that if there IS a problem we won't be able to reliably document it."

    They hasn't done it.

    You really should have present us documents of every second of your life. You hasn't done this, so we can safely assume that you are raping your daughter every day.

  • Re:It won't work (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Friday May 07, 2010 @09:48PM (#32135188)
    That is because of the AGW proponents who would shout as soon as one place was warmer than the year before that it was "proof" of AGW. Or the AGW proponents who claimed that more severe storms were evidence of AGW and the next year claimed that less severe storms were evidence of AGW. There were even AGW proponents who would claim that both warmer than normal tempatures and cooler than normal temperatures were evidence of AGW.
    There have been AGW proponents exaggerating since at least the early 80s (and no loud voices from other AGW proponents saying that they are exaggerating), and then they are surprised when they have no credibility.
  • Re:Integrety (Score:1, Insightful)

    by labnet (457441) on Friday May 07, 2010 @09:58PM (#32135270)

    OK, so lets look at the quality of the CRU climate data as logged here http://www.anenglishmanscastle.com/HARRY_READ_ME.txt [anenglishmanscastle.com]
    I'll even quote some bits for you.

    OH FUCK THIS. It's Sunday evening, I've worked all weekend, and just when I thought it was done I'm
    hitting yet another problem that's based on the hopeless state of our databases. There is no uniform
    data integrity, it's just a catalogue of issues that continues to grow as they're found.

    I am seriously close to giving up, again. The history of this is so complex that I can't get far enough
    into it before by head hurts and I have to stop. Each parameter has a tortuous history of manual and
    semi-automated interventions that I simply cannot just go back to early versions and run the update prog.
    I could be throwing away all kinds of corrections - to lat/lons, to WMOs (yes!), and more.

    Now, this is a clear indication that the standard deviation limits are not being applied.
    Which is extremely bad news. So I had a drains-up on anomauto.for.. and.. yup, my awful
    programming strikes again. Because I copied the anomdtb.f90 process, I failed to notice
    an extra section where the limit was applied to the whole station - I was only applying
    it to the normals period (1961-90)!

    Probably the worst story is temperature, particularly for MCDW. Over 1000 new stations! Highly
    unlikely. I am tempted to blame the different lat/lon scale, but for now it will have to rest.

    If I fix that, I get:...14 stations LESS than the previous exercise. That'll do, surely? It's not going to be easy to find 14 missing stations, is it? Since the anomalies aren't exactly the same. Should I be worried about 14 lost series? Less than 2%. Actually, I noticed something interesting.. look
    at the anomalies. The anomdtb ones aren't *rounded* to 1dp, they're *truncated*! So, er - wrong!

    The problem is that the synthetics are incorporated at 2.5-degrees, NO IDEA why, so saying they affect
    particular 0.5-degree cells is harder than it should be. So we'll just gloss over that entirely ;0)

    So, under /cru/cruts/version_3_0/fixing_tmp_and_pre/custom_anom_comparisons, we have a
    'manual' directory and an 'automatic' directory, each with twelve 1990 anomaly files. And
    how do they compare? NOT AT ALL!!!!!!!!!

    This shows me the quality of data climate science works with is poor.
    There needs to be rigorous peer reviewed climate data collection standards (which won't improve the historical data.. like for example, which stations had concrete jungles grow around them, how were they calibrated (including traceability) etc)
    The raw data must be publically released (then it can't be fiddled with later)

    Until then, I will assume GIGO.

  • Re:It won't work (Score:3, Insightful)

    by OldSoldier (168889) on Friday May 07, 2010 @09:59PM (#32135286)

    I think part of the problem is something most of us here on /. are blind to, namely that there is a large fraction of the population who do not understand the scientific method and have been brought up on a culture of relative right and wrong.

    Who is at fault in a traffic accident? Depends on who has the winning lawyer.
    Did that CEO break the law or just push the law to its limit but did not step over it?
    And who made those laws anyway? If those laws were repealed would that CEO suddenly be "right" again?

    I was in an astronomy forum where even some of the people there were debating thing like whether 1+1 = 2 is truism vs an artifact of a properly chosen arithmetical scheme (and for this 01 + 01 = 10 would still count as 1+1=2, it's the same arithmetical scheme).

    Fact is there are some things where there is an absolute truth for (climate change, drug effectiveness, best way to handle nuclear waste) and there are some things that will always remain judgment calls (whether fetuses are alive, how to handle illegal immigration). Government has to operate in both but the problem is that most people in politics and in the population at large believe MANY MANY more things are in the judgment call category and less in the absolute truth category.

    I think it's winnable, but it has to start with experts SHOWING us why/how they've come to their conclusions and NOT telling us to trust them, they're experts. Scientific debate in science iterates to a common agreement. One would think that scientific debate in the media can achieve something close and eventually the general public will catch on that some things CAN be known and are not arbitrary.

  • Re:It won't work (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shutdown -p now (807394) on Friday May 07, 2010 @10:00PM (#32135296) Journal

    That is because of the AGW proponents who would shout as soon as one place was warmer than the year before that it was "proof" of AGW.

    They're idiots, too. The correct course of action when dealing with such is calling them out, though, not repeating the same mistakes, or using them as an excuse for perpetrating flawed reasoning.

    There were even AGW proponents who would claim that both warmer than normal tempatures and cooler than normal temperatures were evidence of AGW.

    That's a perfectly valid claim, if we're talking about regional temperatures. In some regions, GW does indeed manifest as a cooling in local climate patterns, even in very long term. It's just that there are more regions which warm up, hence why we get warming on average.

    and no loud voices from other AGW proponents saying that they are exaggerating

    I've seen many feedback from climate researchers warning about sensationalizing AGW, actually. Precisely because they don't want people to "cry wolf" lest they be disbelieved by the time it's actually scheduled to come...

    The problem is that all that stuff gets reported by mass media, and mass media wants a drama, not facts (because drama sells). So when a researcher says that some glacier somewhere might be melting because of GW, you get newspapers with front page stories saying "argh all ice is melting we're all gonna die in 2020!" (I really wish they'd use that spelling, too - it'd be very apropos in the context) - throwing in stats such as "this summer has been the warmest in last 20 years" as a kind of proof. And, of course, there's no way in hell they're going to quote a climate scientist whose study they "based" the article on saying "geez, guys, it's not really all that bad - it's much slower than that!" - unless he goes all the way to the opposite extreme and starts spouting about socialist conspiracy etc.

    That works both ways, though. Say, "climategate" is by and large a creation of mass media, too - driven by demand for drama in this particular area, especially in U.S. As usual, when you get past the screaming newspaper headings, the reality is much more bleak and uninteresting.

    Mark my words, today's journalists should be the second in the line to the sharks, right after lawyers.

  • by TapeCutter (624760) * on Friday May 07, 2010 @10:00PM (#32135298) Journal
    "and thus nobody's mind is ever changed."

    Fortunately that is not true over the long run, having argued the case for AGW on slashdot for the last decade I can say that the slashdot consensus on AGW has done a complete 180 degree turn around in that time. Ten years ago I was definitely in the minority and was constantly modded down for debunking basic stuff such as the "volcanos release more CO2 than mankind" myth. Sure there's still a minority who for political or religious reasons will never accept that mankind can warm the globe but the rest of us (including me) are now much better informed for having had the amature scientific debate.

    The public argument about the science of AGW is very similar to the public argument over smoking causing cancer. The strength of the FF lobby and their pet politicians is orders of magnitude greater than the strength of the tabacoo lobby in it's hayday. Scientists have not failed to communicate the science of AGW but they have not yet been successfull in battling the anti-science forces who know full well they are engaging in propoganda and witch hunts in an effort to keep the public in confused darkness. However you are right, it does not reflect well on society that there is still a vast army of usefull idiots [wikipedia.org] who accept and parrot the anti-science position without question.

    But all is not lost, unlike propoganda and politics, science is objective and always wins in the long run. Evolution, plate techtonics, and AGW, are "scientific facts" where people can see the evidence for themselves. Gun laws, abortion rights, and what to do about AGW, are subjective and those are the wedge arguments that, fueled by the blind faith of politics and religion, will rage forever.
  • Re:It won't work (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dr2chase (653338) on Friday May 07, 2010 @10:07PM (#32135356) Homepage
    I am not so sure of this (and note that you are making an essentially economic prediction about the future, and we're not too good at those, either).

    If we're serious about GW, we start with an increasing CO2 tax, beginning at somewhere between $10 and $50 per ton of CO2 (think, burning 100 gallons of gasoline). You'll notice the price differential, but we've had worse fluctuations in recent years. And it goes up, and everyone knows it goes up. Europe is an existence proof for how we can live pretty well with half the CO2 footprint, and high gas prices.

    At a certain CO2 tax, alternatives become economically interesting. Don't fart around with random subsidies and targeted stuff like that, just make it clear what will happen, and let the market go at it. DO see about a national effort to upgrade the power grid.

    But, such a tax, certainly means the end of the coal industry, probably in my lifetime. They won't be able to compete, unless they can make the whole sequestration thing work. And they might.
  • Re:It won't work (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dipsomaniac (1102131) on Friday May 07, 2010 @10:09PM (#32135374)
    Oh, balls. Look, cherry-picking your data to show what you want may convince some, but the fact is that using a year with an extremely strong El Nino effect as your starting baseline is dishonest.

    Long term global temperature trends are still UP, not down.

  • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@gma i l . com> on Friday May 07, 2010 @10:19PM (#32135446) Journal

    Don't forget that the biggest spokesman for AGW, old Al Gore himself, has set himself up to be a carbon billionaire [telegraph.co.uk] and while he tell everyone else to use public transport he flies around in his own private LEAR JET which he has the 500 pound brass balls to say is "carbon neutral" because he pays HIMSELF carbon credits!

    The point is we need to have some serious skepticism about BOTH sides, as we are talking about not only trillions of dollars here, but also destroying many lives here and creating an even bigger gap between rich and poor, and by slinging the word "deniers" around whenever anyone dares to not follow dogma is NO different than the supposed mistreatment the AGW believers get from the other side.

    The second you start throwing names like deniers at anyone who doesn't fall into line most folks are gonna think "douchebags" and it frankly won't matter whether you have science on your side or not, nobody is gonna listen to you, just as I would listen to arguments made by Ed Begly Jr [wikipedia.org] , who walks the walk and has sat down and been willing to discuss his beliefs pretty much anywhere with courtesy, whereas I wouldn't trust that limo riding, McMansion living Al Gore any farther than I can throw his overfed hypocrite ass.

  • Re:It won't work (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TapeCutter (624760) * on Friday May 07, 2010 @10:21PM (#32135468) Journal
    Give it a rest, your the one who is stonewalling and name calling. Any genuine skeptic who claims to be an "adamant supporter of the Scientific method" should have figured out by now that climategate was a well orchestrated propoganda excersise that utterly failed to dent the science.
  • Re:It won't work (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrHanky (141717) on Friday May 07, 2010 @10:30PM (#32135556) Homepage Journal

    No, you don't. If you did, you'd already know that the CO2 levels are rising (measurable, and an indisputable empirical fact), that CO2 absorbs more energy from infrared light than most other atmospheric gasses (also a verified fact) and that the CO2 almost certainly comes from the burning of fossil fuels (the C12 ratio is higher, due to fossil carbon lacking C14), and you'd accept that there is a warming trend, and that the warmest decade on record has occurred at a solar minimum.

    There's absolutely nothing to this that resembles the "supernatural".

    "Hidden data"? You have a wealth of open data to examine. Which algorithms are hidden? Have you even been looking? No? You're just making stuff up, or copypasting from unverified claims — all the while pretending that your own faults are the faults of science.

    I'll say this: you're not scientifically inclined at all. Otherwise, your arguments would probably have been with a slight scientifically orientation. There is none.

  • by IICV (652597) on Friday May 07, 2010 @10:37PM (#32135626)

    What money? Do you know how much funding your average climatology research unit gets? I bet you it's nowhere near BP or Exxon Mobile's profit margin this year. Hell, even Al Gore's much reviled investments into carbon offset companies don't amount to much more than a minuscule portion of that, and we're not talking about Al Gore here - we're talking about academics doing research.

    Seriously, this is saying "Hey look, those guys get a drop of water! Don't pay any attention to our swimming pool!"

  • by mosb1000 (710161) <mosb1000@mac.com> on Friday May 07, 2010 @10:53PM (#32135720)

    The second link you posted there clearly refutes your claim (but you do have to actually read it to realize that). How you got modded to +5 is beyond me. You moderators need to actually click and read stuff before you endorse it like this.

    Also, these graphs show what we (by that I mean people actually involved in computer modeling, since you obviously have no knowledge of it) call a calibration period. When you are constructing a model, you have a number of theoretically justified, but generally unmeasurable variables. So what you do is you take past data and you start with reasonable values and you adjust the variables until you you get a result that fits your data as closely as possible. Of course, the calibration should be a good fit, if it's not that means that either your model is totally wrong, or you've botched the calibration.

    You can't claim that calibration confirms your model is correct, as a clever person can surely come up with an equation to fit any data by this method. Only time will tell how accurate these models are. Even if the model is correct, models like this are not rigorous, they tell you where the trends are headed, they do not predict the future. Think about it like this: if you read your speedometer and it says you are going 60mph that doesn't mean you will be 60 miles away in an hour, even though x = v*t is a perfectly valid model for your position over time.

  • Re:It won't work (Score:3, Insightful)

    by huckamania (533052) on Friday May 07, 2010 @10:56PM (#32135748) Journal

    Which really explains the need for this 'open' letter, which just happens to be hidden behind a pay wall.

    As an adamant supporter of the Scientific method, I have to wonder why so many in the AGW camp are not concerned that data and methods have been lost. I'm also more than a little puzzled about how peer review became friend review for AGW supporters and fiend review for any doubters. Call me old fashioned, but I liked the IPCC report more when it still showed the MWP and RWP. If AGW is correct, why the need to change the temperature records? Weren't past IPCC reports peer reviewed (back when peer review maybe meant something)?

  • Re:It won't work (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MrHanky (141717) on Friday May 07, 2010 @11:01PM (#32135788) Homepage Journal

    As I pointed out, there is no scepticism in osgeek's AGW denialism. It's simply ideology. Concluding from "this will be too expensive" to "this can't be happening" has nothing to do with scientific scepticism at all, and you make no argument at all yourself. I didn't conflate anything: osgeek isn't a sceptic, he's a denialist.

  • by bhiestand (157373) on Friday May 07, 2010 @11:11PM (#32135846) Journal

    Speaking only for myself, my skepticism stems from an apparent lack of transparency of the data, evidence of cherry picking data to meet an agenda, a lack of transparency of the algorithms used to massage the data, and the tell-tale vitriol spewed toward anyone who questions the above.

    While I agree overall and wish things were more open, it's very important to take that in context. FoIA requests are being used as weapons. Anyone working anywhere near climate science is on the defensive precisely because they have such powerful attacks come in from all directions. It's really no surprise that people are sick of answering the same questions, disproving the same lies, etc.

    The only problems I've noticed with the CRU stuff are the same problems I see in every other scientific field: 1) most scientists aren't good programmers and 2) most scientists aren't good statisticians.

    There. I said it. Sorry, but the guy who self-taught coding during grad school probably doesn't have the skills needed to consistently and reliably code some of this stuff. Ditto for scientists who don't have at least a BA/BS in math.

  • Re:Integrety (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tmosley (996283) on Friday May 07, 2010 @11:47PM (#32136078)
    No, actually, they didn't. The data that was released in those publications was "corrected". The original data was thrown out. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article6936328.ece [timesonline.co.uk]

    I'm also a scientist, and let me tell you, I keep EVERYTHING (as does everyone that I have ever dealt with). I have lab notebooks in my lab going back to the 70's, full of every bit and byte of data that we have generated, across countless comings and goings of post-docs, technicians, and research associates.
  • by Svartalf (2997) on Friday May 07, 2010 @11:48PM (#32136088) Homepage

    A thousand to one. Oh, man, we get all the hard jobs.

    Heh... Sometimes you also have to do it for things that people don't want to believe because of their cherished notions that run so counter to the idea you're proposing.

    World not being Flat...
    A heliocentric universe as opposed to a geocentric one...
    Disease vectors...
    Antibiotics... ...and MANY, MANY more.

    The problem with anything world changing/shattering is that it absolutely does require that level of weight of evidence. And if you want the honest truth, NOBODY dealing with the concepts with "Global Climate Change" are being willing to own up to the fact that they NEED this level of scrutiny no matter how those chips fall.

    Not a single one of them have HONESTLY done this. Even minor dinking with that data (which HAS happened) indicates that they're not doing it. Seriously. Calling the people that don't believe "deniers" like we seem to have people doing here and in the community doesn't do the community anything other than a disservice and just simply lends to the impression that it's a damned religion instead of the science it's being claimed as. Regardless of the real status of things.

  • Re:It won't work (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 08, 2010 @12:03AM (#32136168)

    You responded to osgeek's comment http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1645100&cid=32134102 [slashdot.org] : Proponents of AGW are asking for societies to completely revise their infrastructures and policies. They should expect a high degree of skepticism and deal with it head on rather than politicking, obfuscating, and downright covering things up.
    with

    Oh, so because "Proponents of AGW are asking for societies to completely revise their infrastructures and policies" they must be wrong.

    which is a straw man argument. osgeek did not say they were wrong, he said they should expect skepticism, or in other words they should be prepared to display the correctness of their assertions that societies infrastructures and policies must be changed. This is an entirely appropriate stance toward scientists who are supposed to operate just that way, by evidence and proof rather than persuasiveness or authority.

    Logically you can only have made this fallacious argument either accidentally or deliberately. If accidentally, then any conclusion or idea you propose must necessarily be questioned by us as the process by which you arrived at that conclusion/idea may contain many such logical fallacies. I'll guess that you're basically honest, but if this issue is important to you then it seems likely that your rational functions are being subverted by your emotional investment.

  • Re:It won't work (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 08, 2010 @12:14AM (#32136220)

    Concluding from "this will be too expensive" to "this can't be happening" has nothing to do with scientific scepticism at all

    You'd be making a really compelling argument if he had said it can't be happening. Since he didn't say that but that they should expect scepticism and meet it head on instead of "politicking, obfuscating, and downright covering things up" then it would seem that straw man arguing and insults are the most effective weapons at your disposal, which is to say you lack facts and reason. Otherwise stop with the straw man arguments and present your facts and reason.

  • by Teancum (67324) <{ten.orezten} {ta} {gninroh_trebor}> on Saturday May 08, 2010 @12:16AM (#32136228) Homepage Journal

    The problem with "AGW" is that it is bad science and mostly public relations, not necessarily actual science. I can name numerous sorts of problems with those who are pro-AGW just as those who are blatant deniers are equally out to lunch.

    A great part of the problem is that head smacking obvious issues like what caused the medieval global warming (hint, it had almost nothing to do with human impact on the environment) and the subsequent cold period that sort of peaked some time around the period of the American Revolution in the late 18th Century are certainly not satisfactorily explained with the current climatological models, and how anybody can measure the temperature of the whole of the Earth down to a fraction of a degree is something that I think is equally bogus.

    I'm not one to suggest that we need to completely ignore the effects of human civilization upon the global climate or even on a regional basis, but some balance does need to get back into the debate.

    Where the real problem comes in is not just the deniers who want to pop off a bunch of oil wells similar to what Saddam Hussein did in Kuwait at the end of the Gulf War and deliberately try to pollute the Earth and cause as much CO2 production as possible to prove that the AGW hypothesis is incorrect, but those who are of the opposite extreme and essentially wish to kill off the whole of human civilization and go even so far as advocating mass genocide as obviously mankind is a virus that needs to be exterminated.

    It is precisely the politics that has invaded science, as evidenced by this letter too, that is causing many of the problems. Those sitting on committees who are funding this kind of science are seemingly systematically killing off even modest questioning of basic concepts, and worse still is the suggestion that one and only one form of activity is solely responsible for any warming that the Earth may have had over the past couple of decades.

    These who would be honest scientists ought to decry and distance themselves from activists who do really bizarre things like claiming extreme blizzards and heat waves are "evidence" of global warming, as are floods and droughts. Heck, any time there is any sort of weather of any kind and there is some story that says "Oh.... that was caused by global warming". Even ordinary temperate and fair weather is attributed to global warming.... thus making a farce of the whole notion in the first place.

    Can reasonable steps be done to reduce pollution in the environment in all its varied forms, and ought we be reasonable stewards over those things we are responsible for? Absolutely! At the same time, massive economic overhaul that causes mayham to almost everything we hold dear and turns folks like Al Gore into billionaires is not necessarily something I wish to advocate either, and certainly would be willing to call those who support crazy ideas like carbon tax credits without following the money and realizing what harm such a policy and concept causes is also just as silly.

    I, for one, am very concerned about carbon sequestration and the potential long-term pollution problems that sort of technical solution might cause, and even go so far as to argue that some of the methods of sequestration might end up causing more problems than simply letting it pipe out into the atmosphere. It is one thing to run the exhaust of a coal plant through a greenhouse to promote biomass production. It is another to shove the CO2 into the ground and pretend that it has no long-term impact if that is done for a century or two. I really worry about CO2 dumping into oceans and what sorts of long-term impacts that may have on the aquatic ecosystems.... yet those are schemes that are going to be given a carbon tax credit as it won't be going into the air. Yeah, put off the problems for a couple millenia when we are going to be compost ourselves. That sounds like a good idea, I suppose.

    This isn't a cut and dried issue, and there is some horrible science being done, and others claimin

  • by tbannist (230135) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @12:25AM (#32136278)

    That's not surprising, it certainly seems like a lot of anti-evolutionists are also in the anti-AGW battle. I suppose there's a couple of reasons for that. For one AGW questions the literal truth of the Bible, because if AGW is true, then maybe God didn't really give the world to Christians to do with as they wish. The other big reason is that anti-evolutionists have a tendency to be anti-science, thus it is natural for them to take up any side which questions the credibility of scientists and scientific consensus. Evolution is just the wedge issue that they're hammering away at to try and break science.

  • by hsthompson69 (1674722) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @12:34AM (#32136336)

    Precisely that, is what peer-reviewed scientific journals are for. Have you been reading them?

    Look, let's stop bandying about "peer review" as if it represents some sort of SCOTUS of science. Peer reviewers don't have to look at the actual data (as Phil Jones so graciously offered, they never asked him for it), don't have to agree with the conclusions, and aren't judging whether or not a paper is TRUE or not, they're simply deciding if it's worth publishing.

  • by TapeCutter (624760) * on Saturday May 08, 2010 @01:35AM (#32136592) Journal
    "A great part of the problem is that head smacking obvious issues like what caused the medieval global warming"

    Nobody knows what caused the anomally known as the MWP but the fact that it was regional rules out the sun and other global phenomena. Whatever it was, it does not imply that CO2 is not causing the current warming. I'm sorry I only skimmed the the rest of your rant but that initial logical fallacy was enough to inform me that you are ill equiped to constructively critisize climate scientists.
  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @01:39AM (#32136604) Journal

    Don't forget that the biggest spokesman for AGW, old Al Gore himself, has set himself up to be a carbon billionaire and while he tell everyone else to use public transport he flies around in his own private LEAR JET which he has the 500 pound brass balls to say is "carbon neutral" because he pays HIMSELF carbon credits!

    And the problem is?
    Are you saying that his company isn't actually offsetting his carbon emissions?

    Does anyone complain when the President of Ford buys a Ford?
    Or when the owner of construction firm pays his own company to build his home?

    If Gore's company is doing its job, what's the problem with him paying them?

  • by hsthompson69 (1674722) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @01:41AM (#32136616)

    The warming trend is 0.14deg/decade, define "catastophic".

    Well, the screaming from the greenies is usually 2C over a century...so 1.4C/century is probably worth ignoring for all practical purposes...unless you believe that 1.4C/century will cause 10m sea level rises, more hurricanes, the loss of all glaciers, etc, etc.

    For AGW you can falsify it by showing Fourier's spectral analysis techniques don't work and therfore throw out much of astronomy, cosmology and quantum mechanics as a side effect.

    What? How about something a little more directly related to AGW -> spectral analysis techniques don't mean that human created CO2 is causing catastrophic warming. Even though spectral analysis techniques may be necessary for AGW, they are not sufficient. Try a useful falsification.

    Here's a hint -> You don't need a supercomputer to calculate the forcing from CO2.

    Of course we don't -> we don't have a realistic model of forcing from CO2 that takes into account all of our known positive and negative feedbacks, but we can make a really naive model and calculate *something*. It just won't be true.

  • by tgibbs (83782) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @02:13AM (#32136736)

    A great part of the problem is that head smacking obvious issues like what caused the medieval global warming

    The existence of a medieval global warming period seems to be an article of faith among opponents of global warming, even though the evidence that it was global rather than regional is much weaker (PDF) [psu.edu] than the evidence for modern global warming. The oddest thing is that they seem think that the possible existence of some additional mechanism that is not understood whereby the earth could warm more than is expected from current global climate models models should make people less concerned about the possible consequences of modern global warming. If the medieval warm period was indeed global, it would argue that there is some additional mechanism that could add to or amplify the modern CO2 induced warming so as to cause global temperatures to shoot up even higher than projected.

  • Re:It won't work (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bhagwad (1426855) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @02:32AM (#32136814) Homepage
    Here's something you should have figured out for yourself:

    There are lots of theories that we take for granted and which we rely on scientists to tell us the truth. Take the General theory of relativity for example. Even though I have a background in physics, I still don't have the math expertise to prove it. Yet I "believe" in it. Why? Because all the scientists claim that it's true. They say they've proved it and over the last 100 years, no scientist has challenged it. So I take their word for it. I have to. I accept the general theory of relativity even though I haven't personally proved it for myself. The same holds true for the overwhelming majority of fields in science, maths, geology etc etc.

    So can you say I'm blindly accepting the general theory of relativity? If by "blindly" you mean have it proved it for myself? Then yes. I'm blindly accepting it. But if you mean do I have reasons to believe it's true, then no it's not blind acceptance. I have very good reasons to "believe" it's true. Those reasons are that scientists believe in it. I can do no better and I challenge you to find another way (Hint: You can't go around studying for years to be able to prove something for every single field. I'll need a couple of thousand years for that).

    In fact, I'm willing to bet you can't prove or apply the principles of aerodynamics for yourself. Yet you believe the scientists and engineers when they tell you so right? If you didn't, you would never set foot in an airplane.

    The same is even more true with an interdisciplinary science like climate change. It's very easy for amateurs like me to pick up some jargon here and there and using it to prove either side of a debate. But unless we're pros, we don't know the half of it. Every theory has ifs, buts, and exceptions. And since there's no way in hell I'm ever going to reach a stage where I can prove or disprove it for myself, I'll have to take the second best option and listen to those who are in a position to do it. And when the overwhelming majority of such people say that human caused climate change is real, I believe them - savvy? Just like I believe those scientists who say that the general theory of relativity is true.

    The only thing that's different about climate change is that scientist's positions can inconvenience vested interests. The government, big businesses and others who suddenly find they may have to change the way they live. So this has suddenly come up. Take all that out, and we would never have had this "denialist" charade.

    Moral of the story: Just believe the majority of the scientists. They've no axe to grind and that's why they're there. If year after year, group after group of scientists from various disciplines, backgrounds, countries and agencies claim that anthropogenic global warming is really happening, then you'd be a fool to listen to anything else from TV, politicians or businesses. Q.E.D
  • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@gma i l . com> on Saturday May 08, 2010 @03:36AM (#32137014) Journal

    No I'm saying he is a fat Lear Jet flying, McMansion owning (have you SEEN his fucking house? I've driven by it, you can power a couple of neighborhoods off what the fat bastard is blowing on AC alone) hypocrite who has the brass balls to pay HIMSELF "carbon credits" for blowing around in his Lear while he tells us to ride the fucking bus!

    And if you actually buy into carbon credits? Then I'd really like to sell you some swamp land, almost gator free! Carbon credits will be so rife with abuse [wattsupwiththat.com] it will make credit default swaps look legit, the ones pushing for it like Rev Al (who to me is as big a self serving douchebag as Sharpton) and his buddies at Goldman Sachs [goldmansachs.com] are set to make billions by..well being a bunch of fucking worthless leeches, can't think of a nicer way to put it, and all the while it will do exactly jack and shit about carbon, because China will tell us where we can put our credits.

    I look at it this way, if your spokesman is a total douche you've got trouble. I haven't seen ANYONE call out old Al for being a giant fucking hypocrite, or for having a major conflict of interest, instead they just let old Al hop up to the mike and not say a damned word. It reminds me of race relations, in that everyone knows racism is bad. Everyone knows treating people like shit because they are a different color, race, sexual orientation is wrong. But it doesn't matter how right that message is when old Rev. Al Sharpton gets his fat ass up to the mike and starts spreading his bullshit, because everyone thinks "Fucking douchebag!" and tunes out.

    The same thing is happening here, with a bunch of self interested pricks hijacking the conversation and trying to steer it into their bank accounts. Until someone high up in AGW tells Al's ass to GTFO many are gonna say "douchebag" and tune out. And credit default swaps...err..I mean carbon credits, should be treated like the catholic indulgences scam that it is. To use the famous /. car analogy, It doesn't matter how important your message is if your messenger is as trustworthy as a used car salesman with a dodgy 74 Barracuda.

  • by drsmithy (35869) <drsmithy@@@gmail...com> on Saturday May 08, 2010 @04:32AM (#32137158)

    Where the real problem comes in is not just the deniers who want to pop off a bunch of oil wells similar to what Saddam Hussein did in Kuwait at the end of the Gulf War and deliberately try to pollute the Earth and cause as much CO2 production as possible to prove that the AGW hypothesis is incorrect, but those who are of the opposite extreme and essentially wish to kill off the whole of human civilization and go even so far as advocating mass genocide as obviously mankind is a virus that needs to be exterminated.

    Can you cite any remotely mainstream opinions "advocating mass genocide" ?

    I, for one, am very concerned about carbon sequestration [...]

    I'm kind of curious why you're concerned about "sequestering" carbon, but apparently not so concerned about dumping it out into the atmosphere.

    Again, because of the politics in climate research, those who are doing the bad science are also getting away with it.

    How are they "getting away with it" ?

  • by Troed (102527) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @04:32AM (#32137160) Homepage Journal

    IF the MWP (and the other warm periods that we can see in ice core data) was global then that pretty much falsifies the current climate models. Thus, there's no "added" problem you describe we should be afraid of.

  • Re:It won't work (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BlueStrat (756137) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @05:08AM (#32137242)

    Europe is an existence proof for how we can live pretty well with half the CO2 footprint, and high gas prices.

    Europe would be a good example only if the US were to completely alter it's population distributions to match those of Europe. The US is BIG. The US population and it's cities and towns are much more spread out, with large areas of the continent that are relatively sparsely populated, but yet that population is a significant portion of the total population.

    Even US cities are different. Most US cities aren't that old compared to most European cities, and the many cities designed/built (as well as expansions of existing cities) after the Model 'T' era were laid out with automobiles in mind. Many European cities are hundreds of years old, built when most people walked and those with freedom and means rode horses and horse-drawn wagons, carts, etc. This means the cities are much more compact, which makes things like mass transit, walking, and bicycling much more practical and economical.

    As far as these scientists and their statement, I agree with others here who've expressed the opinion that they're only hurting the pro-AGW camp. The best thing they could do would be to advocate for a full disclosure of all raw data and have it made available to anyone, and set up something like the X-Prize for anyone that can come up with a decently-working climatological model whose code and algorithms can be released publicly and tested by anyone willing to do so.

    The fact that those leading the charge behind AGW and cap-n-tax stand to make Sagans of dollars from it, along with more political power and government control over the people, coupled with this reluctance to release methods/data & attacks against anyone who questions their conclusions, makes me extremely skeptical.

    There may be, in fact, an AGW crisis looming that threatens mankind. Unfortunately, the sloppy and ideologically- and politically-driven "science" and election-campaign-like tactics using personal attacks, etc have completely wrecked the debate and delayed or killed any chance of doing anything about it for years or decades.

    The world just isn't going to give up many trillions in wealth, sacrifice many lives, reduce individual freedoms, lose national sovereignty, and destroy the standard of living of many millions without solid, verifiable, and dire reasons. This has only reinforced skepticism.

    Strat

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 08, 2010 @05:29AM (#32137292)

    Whatever it was, it does not imply that CO2 is not causing the current warming.

    Since AGW is a non-obvious, significant statement - onus of proof is on the proponents of AGW rather than the doubters. Hence, a doubt need not "imply that CO2 is not causing the current warming" to be a valid doubt. Other factors need to be considered.

    I'm sorry I only skimmed the the rest of your rant but that initial logical fallacy was enough to inform me that you are ill equiped to constructively critisize climate scientists.

    But you fail at basic logic. Read up on burden of proof, especially as applicable to logical philosophy. Not to mention, you badly need a spelling course.

    Posting as AC because I moderated here.

  • by GPLHost-Thomas (1330431) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @06:13AM (#32137392)
    First, I don't know where you have found this 97%. Maybe from the IPCC itself?

    But public policy makers should go with the preponderance of evidence, just like a court; leaning to the views of a small minority is not sound policy-making. If 97% of 1000 nuclear scientists thought a nuclear plant would blow up, would you build it?

    Second, what you say above endorses burning Galileo. What's that war with the number of scientist that you are trying to make? Why are you talking about "battalions of PhDs" this way? It doesn't make sense. I can point to PhDs that are skeptics.

    3rd, your conclusion is your own. And like many, you are pretending everyone that doesn't think like you is stupid. That makes readers believe you aren't that smart, if that's your only argumentation...

  • by Troed (102527) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @06:24AM (#32137414) Homepage Journal

    Why do you claim that climate models accurately can emulate historic climate when they cannot?

    (That's what the whole debate on whether the MWP was global or not centers around - thus my comment)

  • by Teancum (67324) <{ten.orezten} {ta} {gninroh_trebor}> on Saturday May 08, 2010 @06:30AM (#32137430) Homepage Journal

    Historical records exist of agriculture practices in several areas of Europe for crops that simply won't grow in those areas because it is too cold to grow them there now. Things like widespread vineyards in England and the growing seasons in Greenland with its rather substantial population based on medieval European farming practices.

    Yes, I'll admit that may have been caused from an unusually strong Gulf Stream or some other mechanism, but it was a rather sustained and prolonged warming period that impacted climates and not just a few storms. You have got to identify the source of that heat in some way and put it into the model, and I'd even argue so far as that the burden of proof rests with those who claim it was merely a local phenomena.

    Furthermore, it seems to suggest that the Earth can warm up several degrees and actually be beneficial for mankind in terms of increased growing seasons for many areas and increased food production in general. It sort of begs the question.... what are we worried about even if the global environment is warming up?

    Again, I'm not necessarily saying we need to go out of our way to deliberately cause pollution, but more science clearly is needed, and not some sort of bible bashing on the concepts.

  • by olafva (188481) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @08:29AM (#32137784) Homepage

    Only 255/2450 NAS members signed this statement.
    (NAS has 2100+350 foreign affiliates)
    What are the views of the rest - not just this minority?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 08, 2010 @10:54AM (#32138634)

    Where were you when the rest of us heard this news?

    Falling back on "oh you guys weren't peer reviewed so your science is crap" means you didn't get the memo that the entire peer review process has been corrupted or you're the exact sort of propgandist that the GP is complaining about.

    Argument from Authority is also in your post. Figured I'd shove that off the table while I was here since it is so easy to do. Scientific societies and professional bodies, indeed. Consenus is a political term, not a scientific one. The sooner you learn that the sooner you stand a chance of seeing the wool in front of your eyes.

    Either way your point is heavily blunted by your ignorance and closed mindedness.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 08, 2010 @10:57AM (#32138646)

    Ignoring your uncivilized language for a while -

    If AGW is so obvious, why are scientists wasting millions of dollars in accumulating evidence, running computer models, ascertaining the details of the physics involved etc.?

    I sincerely think you are trolling, but just giving you the benefit of a slight doubt.

  • by samoanbiscuit (1273176) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @01:58PM (#32140122)

    Marine science tells us that many coral species are sensitive to small temperature changes, and carbon dioxide levels rising will also cause acidification of the oceans, and the coral bleaching beginning in many parts of the tropics seem to ominously back this up. another factor in coral bleaching. Because yes, people in the northern hemisphere should be able to grow wine further up north than usual, don't worry about the die-off of some of the most important organisms in the marine enironment, I mean, fish stocks, fish life-cycles, migrations, what are those, we need wine in northern europe! By the way, my point was sincere, but that bit about northen europe was tongue-in-cheek...

  • by medcalf (68293) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @02:09PM (#32140216) Homepage
    Dude, you seriously do not know what ad hominem means. You are, however, quite immune to the irony of then using it so broadly.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 08, 2010 @04:10PM (#32141082)

    Why did NASA recently launch the twin GRACE sattelites to test Einstien's physics?

    Because they are not "obvious". That was my point. Einstein discovered them through his genius. I've heard many adjectives applied to Einstein's theories, but obvious was never one.

    You are getting confused between "robust" theories, and "obvious" theories. First get that right, then we will talk about "comprehension of science".

  • by Coop (9778) on Sunday May 09, 2010 @07:52AM (#32145938)

    If nothing else, I would expect the /. crowd to be at least a little skeptical of *anything* that causes vast sums of money to change hands.

    Exactly. Do you realize how much money changes hands because of materialistic belief systems, ego-stroking purchases, and energy-intensive lifestyles, all backed by the inverted philosophy that selfishness is good and that cooperation is evil? I fully support your scepticism regarding the wisdom of such things.

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