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Climate Researchers Fight Back 641

tomduck writes "The Guardian reports that climate researcher Andrew Weaver is suing the National Post newspaper in Canada in a libel action for publishing 'grossly irresponsible falsehoods.' The Post claimed he cherrypicked data to support his climate research, and tried to blame the 'evil fossil fuel' industry for break-ins at his office in 2008 to divert attention from mistakes in the 2007 IPCC report. This comes fast on the heels of another Guardian article describing lessons learned from the exoneration of UEA scientists involved in the so-called Climategate affair. Are climate scientists finally fighting back against their critics, who they were previously more inclined to ignore?"
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Climate Researchers Fight Back

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  • by eagl ( 86459 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @04:09PM (#31959936) Journal

    Real climate scientists have been fighting for years... It is the climate evangelists that have been ignoring everyone else up until now.

  • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @04:13PM (#31960002) Journal

    I don't give a crap about the "climate evangelists" (whatever exactly that is). But if the National Post is simply playing fast and loose with the facts surrounding a scientist, and basically libeling him in the process, I hope they pay, and pay dearly. If you want to debate the merits or faults of a scientific theory, you debate the merits or faults, you don't go around invoking conspiracy theories, and if you are going to stoop to that level, you probably shouldn't actually go accusing the scientists directly, but rather keep it all nebulous. The pseudo-skeptics need to take a page from the anti-evolution crowd. When talking about the evil conspiracy, don't name names, don't make specific accusations, keep it nice and general and that way nobody can go to a lawyer and drag your ass into court.

  • by skids ( 119237 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @04:18PM (#31960066) Homepage

    It would stand on its own, were the media to actually report what the data says. Since they seem to pay no attention to facts, I don't see a problem to poking them with a sharp lawyer and seeing if they'll pay attention to that.

  • by maxume ( 22995 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @04:19PM (#31960078)

    So people can just say whatever they want about him, with him having no recourse whatsoever (lest he make you think that maybe he really does have something to hide, if he objects to a newspaper publishing that he is a fraud)?

  • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @04:19PM (#31960086) Journal

    I've just got to ask, what's a "liberal fact"? Facts don't have political leanings. Facts aren't ideological. That's like saying gravity is right wing or red shift is centrist.

    This has been the most vile aspect of the Conservative war on science. Anything that disagrees with the corporatist-social conservative-fundamentalist Christian confederation that is modern conservatism is labeled as "leftist" or "liberal". I've debated guys who insist biological evolution and geology are "liberal" sciences. It's absurd.

    Whether or not anthropogenic climate change is actually true, it is a scientific theory. It is a-religious and a-political and just generally a-ideological. It's like trying to attach an ideology to hammers or torch wrenches.

  • Ultimately (Score:5, Insightful)

    by symes ( 835608 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @04:20PM (#31960102) Journal
    It is good peer reviewed journal articles and making the data available for public scrutiny that will determine right from wrong, in as far that there is a right from wrong in such matters - I doubt a court room would come close to what other scientists can do to each others work. Do they really think a lawyer could even get close to understanding the statistical models these guys use? The other issue is public perception and the potential damage false accusations can inflict. And I also doubt that a court room would appease public sentiment. I can understand why they might feel aggreaved and hope they win - I just don't think the excercise will cover the big issues.
  • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @04:21PM (#31960128) Journal

    The National Post is free to publish anything it likes critiquing climate change. What it can't do, any more than anyone can do, is libel someone in the process. If I attack child molesters, there's nothing with that. If I declare that you're a child molester, well, that my friend is actionable. They're declaring this guy a fraud, in the general community a pretty serious charge, but in the scientific community it's the most serious charge, and unless they have actual evidence to back up their claims, they very well could be forced to pay damages and publish an apology for their statements. Editorialists and columnists do not have unlimited privilege to libel people.

  • by oldspewey ( 1303305 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @04:25PM (#31960164)
    Bear in mind, the National Post is the closest thing Canada has to a Fox News network. I've seen numerous instances of the NP playing fast and loose with facts and using lightly-camouflaged op-ed to subtly (or not so subtly) discredit people.
  • Exonerated? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by 16K Ram Pack ( 690082 ) <> on Friday April 23, 2010 @04:28PM (#31960208) Homepage

    They had 1 day of testimony. And their results still aren't reproduceable.

    That doesn't mean that global warming isn't happening, but UEA can't prove it's happening.

  • What climagate ? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by unity100 ( 970058 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @04:30PM (#31960230) Homepage Journal

    there was no 'climagate' but private interests and right wing news organizations (ie fox news) picking and exaggerating on some piece of criticism in climate research. the kind of inside criticism in scientific community which is not only normal, but generally mandated to be there, in order for a research to be considered valid and scientific.

    the same kind of news organizations which easily went as far to say 'what global warming, it is snowing here' while doing serious news pieces.

  • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @04:36PM (#31960320) Journal

    Your analogy is bizarre. War is a political exercise. Chemical or nuclear explosions are not. They can be used in a war, but they are a-political. The fact that you can produce a large explosion that can kill people doesn't mean the forces and materials involved have a political bias, any more than a strip of wood does, even if its used to make a bow that can kill people.

  • by kf6auf ( 719514 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @04:38PM (#31960348)

    The newspaper, not surprisingly, has the ability to reach a lot wider audience with what it says that this guy does. The libel laws are there for cases like this when someone lies / misrepresents the truth. Even arguing that he can inform the public of his side easily on the internet, what about everyone who read it in print, or who won't read what he writes because it won't be picked up by newspapers they read?

    There needs to be an incentive to not lie about things in print. Saying that lies can be corrected doesn't necesarily fix the harm that was done.

  • by quantumplacet ( 1195335 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @04:40PM (#31960376)

    along those same lines: facts are apolitical, but any given interpretation of those facts is unlikely to be as unbiased.

  • by david_thornley ( 598059 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @04:44PM (#31960402)

    The theory is apolitical. The reasoning behind the conclusions is apolitical. The theory was formulated by examining facts, trying to figure out how they fit together, and gathering more facts. The motivations were the usual scientific motives of desire for truth, prestige, and grant money. (Prestige is not only satisfying to the ego, but helps in getting a job one likes.) Note that the desire for truth is usually pretty strong, as in general anybody smart and disciplined enough to be a scientist could make a lot more money doing something else.

    There is a lot of politics going on around climate theory, and there are very legitimate disputes about what to do about it, but it is generally accepted among honest and informed people that the burning of fossil fuels since about 1850 has caused more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which has warmed the planet a little, which has caused various changes in climate.

  • Re:Ultimately (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @04:46PM (#31960428) Journal

    I never said we should maintain ivory towers, but if the fraudsters in the anti-evolution movement are any indication, a lot more pure unadulterated bullshit is going to come down the pike once those numbers are made available. The chief difference is that the fraudsters in the anti-climate pseudo-skeptic community are backed by some of the largest corporations on the planet, where with the anti-evolution crowd its largely moron school boards and a couple of millionaires funding outfits like the Discovery Institute.

  • Re:a bit naive... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cluge ( 114877 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @04:46PM (#31960432) Homepage

    > they have to pay out will come from their backers - the oil industry

    Do you any evidence of this, or do you just "know"? If I was to put on your conspiracy hat and "follow the money" I see trillions of dollars and power going to government agencies, scientists that "study" the problem are getting more and more funding. Western governments desperately need money to pay for social programs that are unsustainable, and "climate science" is a perfect excuse to tax more. Who exactly is using who?

    > Look at how much the oil industry have had to pay to take over governments

    You seem to confuse taxation with "pay off".

    >dismiss science

    Science is a methodology, what's being dismissed is evidence that contradicts the pervasive theory.

    > The longer you resist, the more you will suffer.

    Whose therapist said that?


  • by ccarson ( 562931 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @04:46PM (#31960440)
    It's ironic we're talking about "fast and loose with facts" when the topic at hand is how the climate warming/cooling (which is it folks?) researchers who for years distorted findings for additional research money and to regulate private industry under the auspices of championing environmental agendas.

    Their credibility is shot.
  • by megamerican ( 1073936 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @04:47PM (#31960450)

    I am not defending what the National Post did in any way but their libel nor does the findings by the House of Commons completely exonerate the scientists of the UAE.

    While the House of Commons showed there was no proof of "tampering" of the data in the climategate sample it was because the UAE deleted [] all of the raw data in question.

    SCIENTISTS at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have admitted throwing away much of the raw temperature data on which their predictions of global warming are based.

    It means that other academics are not able to check basic calculations said to show a long-term rise in temperature over the past 150 years.

    There was no way to prove if the data had been tampered with because the data was deleted. The only thing that was left was their "value added" data.

    I don't know if what the UAE did could be considered science because science is supposed to be an open and completely transparent process. When you throw out your raw data instead of releasing it when legally and morally obliged to you shouldn't be able to be called a scientist any more.

    That's why the head of the CRU at UAE resigned his post.

    They also engaged in trying to get skeptics from being published in scientific journals, among other things.

    I absolutely wish we could debate the science and be 100% objective in its analysis when you put humans into the equation it simply isn't possible.

  • by mevets ( 322601 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @04:48PM (#31960468)

    Of course we can't; not until the planet is uninhabitable will we know with absolute certainty (ie. can make the statement). We do know the effect of greenhouse gasses, and that we are pumping an unprecedented level of them, on a continuous basis, into the atmosphere, and that the environment is warming.

    The best evidence that the environment is warming is the sudden interest in Arctic ownership and access. The same governments and businesses which undermine climate change are jockeying for rights and access here. Do they know something we don't?

  • by calmofthestorm ( 1344385 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @04:53PM (#31960558)

    Consider that it's pretty damn hard (and should be) to get a newspaper for libel, at least outside the UK, so it's not something you'd see often (and I'd expect, as you note, that it would be in the fact corrections area or letters to the editor)

    More generally, requiring apologies in cases of slander/libel cases is standard, as it allows the guilty party to repair the victim's reputation, at least to some degree.

    Consider that most of us in academia would rather be caught killing someone than forging data. Though in this case, the rest of the scientific community knows that the allegations are false anyway.

  • Short time?
    You mean 750,000 years of data? That's not a short time.

    Plus, there is a ton of data. Read up. Culd new data come in? maybe but you don't sit around and wait for data to support your theory. YOu go with th data you have and modify as new data cmoes in.

    Would this make sens:
    I believe gravity is happening, but we shouldn't go around saying its because mass bends space until more data comes in.

  • by Areyoukiddingme ( 1289470 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @04:55PM (#31960578)

    the same kind of news organizations which easily went as far to say 'what global warming, it is snowing here' while doing serious news pieces.

    That would be where they have people fooled. Fox "News" broadcasts very little news at all, even according to its own opinion. The vast majority of their programming is officially editorial, by their own statements.

    That's not to say they have any qualms at all about lying during actual news pieces either, since they went to court to defend their right to do precisely that, and won.

  • Re:Ultimately (Score:3, Insightful)

    by The Spoonman ( 634311 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @05:03PM (#31960686) Homepage
    whereas release of the data can pretty much only increase serious scrutiny

    How do you figure? How precisely does giving the People of Walmart [] access to scientific data increase scrutiny? The one thing I find most amazing about Climategate is this apparent perception that the climate change issue is a new one. Like it hasn't been thoroughly researched over the last 40ish years by scientists in many disparate disciplines. As the parent suggests, the deniers have access to the published papers, and they still fail to "believe" in climate change. How is having raw statistical data going to change that? And, frankly, if they're so concerned about the quality of the data couldn't they....hmmmm, I dunno...collect their own? Why do the actual scientists have to do the work so deniers can just tear it down?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 23, 2010 @05:12PM (#31960784)

    Right, let's sue everyone who gives false information.

    I think that sounds like a really good idea, actually.

    The willful misinformation of the American population is causing us a lot of problems. Making people accountable for their public lies spread through media would be a step forward.

  • Re:Hmm. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by StikyPad ( 445176 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @05:12PM (#31960788) Homepage

    I'd say relations between the two are cooling.

  • by spun ( 1352 ) <> on Friday April 23, 2010 @05:12PM (#31960790) Journal

    It's climate change, idiot. The climate will become more extreme, as more energy is pumped into a chaotic system. Their credibility has been exonerated, if you read real instead of faux news sources you would know that. If private industry tries to crap in our air, they will be regulated. I don't crap in their corporate headquarters. Corporations need to be held responsible for their actions, and pay for the damage they force on others. If you don't like it, tough. We all have to share this planet, and we all get a say in what we do with it. Why cede control to a bunch of greedy, sociopathic corporations? This is our planet, and we are not going to let short sighted, selfish, greedy individuals screw it up.

    You want to advocate for the right of the powerful to harm the powerless, be my guest, I support free speech. And I'm sure you'll support my right to say, "fuck you, I'm not taking this lying down." This is war, man. They declared war on us when they started polluting and not paying for the consequences. But we will finish it, and in the end, the people and groups that caused the harm will be forced to pay for the solutions. That's called justice, it's a nice useful concept you might want to look into.

  • by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @05:14PM (#31960830)
    Quit focusing on "Fox News". The fact is, original data was destroyed, and the metadata has been manipulated. Questions about these things have yet to be adequately answered. This has nothing to do with Fox News. And it's a shame that Climate Scientists have not been more open, it generates distrust about a very real problem (Global Warming) and allows Global Warmings' detractors to gain footing.
  • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @05:15PM (#31960842) Journal

    The theory essentially states that the input of large amounts of CO2 and other greenhouse gases that have been sequestered for millions of years in the space of just a few centuries contributes directly to climactic changes, and that those changes will become more pronounced in the future.

    Now we can debate the merits of the theory, we can debate whether the theory actually explains the data and whether or not the theory's predictions are valid. There is nothing ideological about any of it. The theory may be wrong, but not because a general ideological grouping declares it false, it will be wrong because it does not explain the data and does not properly make predictions about what we can and will observe.

    How people use the theory is another thing entirely. Theories, or at least their names, have been co-opted for ideological ends before (genetics was condemned by the USSR as a corrupt western science during the Stalin era and everyone knows about social Darwinism, which has little or nothing to do with Darwin's actual theory).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 23, 2010 @05:16PM (#31960844)

    Facts don't have political leanings? How naive.

    A liberal fact: Unprotected sex leads to STDs and unwanted pregnancies, resulting in increased costs of treatment, and more abortions. Protection protects you 99.9% of the time.

    A conservative fact: Abstinence means you never have morning after regrets or worries.

    A liberal fact: Dumping uncounted tons of pollutants into the atmosphere has to have a negative consequence

    A conservative fact: Water vapor has more of an effect on global warming then carbon.

  • by unity100 ( 970058 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @05:17PM (#31960868) Homepage Journal

    what kind of judicial system a country has to have, for some news channel to win the 'right' to lie while delivering news, one wonders ...

  • by VGR ( 467274 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @05:28PM (#31961008)

    Real climate scientists have been fighting for years... It is the climate evangelists that have been ignoring everyone else up until now.

    I'm getting tired of reading this nonsense. As someone with a degree in environmental science, I feel the need to point out a few things:

    • No one goes into the field expecting to make a lot of money. There are no tales anywhere of environmental scientists who got famous enough to get a gig hosting Nova [] or doing Nike endorsements. People choose environmental studies because they find it interesting. Anyone who went into it for the money would rapidly be bored to tears.
    • Even a meager application of Occam's razor [] should make it immediately clear that the people accusing the climate science community of scaremongering/profiteering are themselves some of the most aggressive profiteers the world has ever known: the fossil fuel industry. (There's nothing wrong with making a profit, but there is something very wrong with stifling competition.)
    • Anyone who was alive during the 70s should see distinct similarities between this disinformation campaign and the once vehement claims that there was "no definitive link" between tobacco use and cancer.

    Which is more likely: that scientists got together and colluded to invent a crisis thinking it would make tons of money roll in, or that the wealthy are projecting their greed onto the less greedy? Occam's razor.

  • by Shetan ( 20885 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @05:30PM (#31961050)

    It's climate change, idiot.

    I think it's even more specific than that. It's about human influenced climate change. Climate Change is a fact. The climate on this planet is constantly changing and has been changing naturally for as long as we have any way of measuring. The causes may be something as simple a cyclical changes in the energy output of the sun, volcanic eruptions, meteor impacts, or a multitude of other natural phenomenons. There's not much we can do to change the normal cycle of climate change. The question is what impact we are having on the climate with the stuff we are pumping in to the atmosphere and what, if anything, we should be doing about it.

  • by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @05:31PM (#31961052) Journal

    In this case, frankly, it doesn't matter what the newspaper is. If they truly libeled the guy, then they should pay for that. If not, then they're free to publish whatever they want.

    I can only say that it's good that this has finally landed in a court, so that the issue can be resolved with all due diligence, rather than by a mob with torches and pitchforks acting on the heat of the moment. Whatever decision comes out of it, I'll trust it much more than any /. speculation, whichever way it is slanted.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 23, 2010 @05:37PM (#31961152)

    Yes, it sucks that the free press are able to adopt perspectives other than the ones provided by any particular government, corporation, or interest. Where's the newspaper you've started to take a different perspective, and why would that perspective be any more or less objective than those of the two national papers of record?

  • by publiclurker ( 952615 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @05:46PM (#31961288)
    Funny, your opinion seems to be total bullshit. You must be afraid of having to own up to the damage you've caused.
  • by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @05:47PM (#31961300) Homepage

    No one goes into the field expecting to make a lot of money.

    Yeah, I always find it hilarious when people suggest money as the motivation for climatologists. Oh sure there's lots of politicking that goes on over acquiring grant money, but that's just the money you need to do your research. If there was nothing to research, why would you care about the grant money? It's not like you can use it to buy a Porsche. If you just wanted to do neat but useless stuff on someone else's dime, you'd study something DARPA cared about.

    Which is more likely: that scientists got together and colluded to invent a crisis thinking it would make tons of money roll in, or that the wealthy are projecting their greed onto the less greedy? Occam's razor.

    Well, Occam's Razor is about refraining from needlessly multiplying entities. Environmental scientists, being nerds, are much less likely to get laid than the MBAs running the fossil fuel industry. Ergo, the science conspiracy theory involves the least multiplying entities. The scientists did it, QED!

  • by glueball ( 232492 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @05:48PM (#31961308)

    No one is distorting findings for money.

    This is the funniest thing I've read all day.

  • Re:Ultimately (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @05:49PM (#31961324) Journal

    Climate research is not even remotely close to Biology/Evolution as a science. Most (though not all) of climate research is based on computer models, which is very shaky evidence at this stage of our technology. Unfortunately, climatology is somewhere between science and religion right now, because it's highly politicized.

    It's a statistical science. But then again, so is radioactive decay. I take it, to be consistent, that you're now going to declare that we can't possibly measure half-lives of many isotopes because it relies on models.

    What you've done is another favorite anti-evolution tactic, an attempt to declare a particular field of research insufficiently "sciencey", that somehow its tools inadequate or prone to bias, while ignoring that similar tools are used in all other sorts of research.

    What you're exhibiting is a classic case of compartmentalization.

  • by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @05:55PM (#31961410)
    Well, the choice is to let them lie about the data, lie about what the scientists are saying, lie about the scientists themselves, methods and personal life. And answer that lie with silence. That gives them credibility. The people publishing the lies don't care to publish the responses, so the accusations will remain unanswered, leaving many people misinformed (by purposeful lies)

    Or, sue them for the illegal lies they are telling so they stop and don't misinform people for profit anymore.

    You are recommending the first. My only question is why?
  • Re:Ultimately (Score:3, Insightful)

    by The Spoonman ( 634311 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @05:57PM (#31961432) Homepage
    It doesn't necessarily increase scrutiny, it just is more likely to increase it than it is to decrease it.

    Although I only tangentially work with the scientific community, it's been my experience that if an actual scientist asks another actual scientist for their data, they'll usually get it. However, the general public...not so much. Why? Well, one only has to read the "evidence" presented in the Climategate scandal to see what happens when people who don't understand the science cherry pick what they read in order to make their case.

    As far as why do you give the deniers an easy time? Because that's the way science should be done, that's why.

    Really? So, I don't have to do any work to be a scientist, I just need to write letters requesting data that's been arduously collected over years by someone else? No, that's not how it should work.
  • by alan_dershowitz ( 586542 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @05:59PM (#31961466)

    Because lying itself isn't against the law. Lying under certain circumstances, such as under oath in a court or fraudulently representing yourself in a business deal, is. The specific court case OP is referring to had to do with whistleblower status of two local Fox affiliate reporters who were fired for refusing to voluntarily redact claims made in an expose on rGBH hormones in cow milk. A replacement report was run that countered their claims.

    link []

    The court found that the reporters were not eligible to be protected under whistleblower status because it is not against the law to lie on television and therefore they were not whistleblowing any crime.

    There are a couple of reasons for this. One is that protection of the freedom of the press is taken very seriously in the USA. A law that created metrics for "truth" of reporting would be abused to silence reporters by government via self-censorship. The other reason the court didn't find the other way is because courts in the USA cannot find someone guilty ex-post-facto to established law, so even if this case made a point about lying on television, the court can't just up and make up a ruling and find Fox guilty. The court case was not about the legality of lying per-se.

    This case was a terrible side-effect of legitimate concern for freedom of press in my opinion. Maybe there should be some sort of requirement for truth in reporting, I haven't thought about all the possible side effects or benefits of such legislation, so I'm not saying I think news organizations should be "allowed to lie" or anything like that.

  • by tmosley ( 996283 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @06:04PM (#31961542)
    Which is more likely: getting a grant to disprove global warming, or getting a grant to produce evidence of global warming?

    Who lives in the granting agencies? What are their biases? This is what strikes at the heart of the problem. For example, my company has the technology to cure AIDS, but we can't get the time of day from any granting agencies, because they will only fund vaccine research.

    Remember, Occam's razor was originally invented to prove that God exists.
  • by calmofthestorm ( 1344385 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @06:07PM (#31961602)

    The problem isn't scientists playing politician but politicians playing scientist. Of course, lack of transparency is despicable and needs to be dealt with. It sickens me that the publications resulting from research paid for with my tax dollars is often locked behind paywalls.

    That said, transparency is somewhat difficult. I have about 50 GB of test results from some research I should be working on at the moment. I can publish it online, but without the software that I use to read the file format it's useless. I wrote that too and could publish it, along with instructions on how to use it, but honestly it would still be very impenetrable to someone not an expert in the field. Now algorithms/ML research is a lot less controversial than AGW, but the point stands. Science is extremely difficult to do right, and to understand. I'd be hopelessly lost if I tried to interpret the CRU data, and I have a very good understanding of scientific and mathematical methods compared to the average person.

    People spend years of their life to wrest the tiniest piece of information out of the universe. It's extraordinarily presumptuous to assume that someone can in an hour go through all that information and come up with a logical conclusion. We're talking about a lifetime of work here. Think about your life: could someone with no related knowledge really sift through all you've done in the past ten years and judge it, in the amount of time we're talking about here?

    My point isn't that they did or didn't do anything wrong. My point is that neither I, nor Glen Beck, nor a court of law, is qualified to judge this question. To quote from TFA, I have no objection to climate skepticism, it's climate change denial that I oppose. It's very clear to someone with a scientific background to identify the common thread in science denial whether it's evolution, climate change, or the big bang: it's a refusal to even consider the possibility followed with spouting off some Aristotelian-style sophistry. A scientist says "maybe the climate isn't changing" and investigates by looking for arguments. A denier insists the climate can't possibly be changing and anyone who disagrees is part of a massive conspiracy and writes analogies and syllogisms and rhetoric. There are a few scientists who dispute AGW. They aren't the ones involved in fomenting this McScandal.

    If my research were as controversial as theirs and anyone who bothered to look at my work in the same detail would be able to manufacture a scandal too, at least if the general public cared about optimizing information gathering. Scientific programming by its very nature results in impenetrable codebases that don't build and extremely complex data sets.

    So I don't claim to be qualified to judge. But my sympathies are with the scientists involved because I have an in in science and I find the idea of an oil industry conspiracy far more plausible than a climate change conspiracy, if we really need conspiracy theories to explain ignorance.

  • by huckamania ( 533052 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @06:07PM (#31961608) Journal

    Not true. The headline for this article says that the UEA were exonerated and I don't believe it at all.

    As I said when climategate first started, this is only the beginning of the end. There is much more that has come out recently and there will be more in the future. You'll know when the end is near when the RWP, MWP and LIA are restored in the climate history. It was pure hubris that removed them from the record. I'm sure most of the climate scientists would like things to go back to 2008, a banner year to be sure, but if you want to repack an opened can of worms, you're going to need a bigger can.

    Glad to see that almost no one is using the term 'climate change' anymore. There is nothing to be ashamed about when using the term 'global warming', if that is what you believe in.

  • by SnarfQuest ( 469614 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @06:16PM (#31961736)

    Anyone who was alive during the 1870s should see distinct similarities between this disinformation campaign and the once vehement claims that there was "no definitive link" between phrenology and personality.

    ... Flat Earth ... N rays ... Cold fusion

    Sometimes scientific theories turn out wrong. Just because many others think you are an idiot, doesn't mean you aren't an idiot. Scientific theories need to be evaluated under a bright light, not hidden away in a closet, especially when hundreds of billions of dollars are going to be taxed every year based on that theory.

  • by Obfuscant ( 592200 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @06:18PM (#31961756)
    If you want to debate the merits or faults of a scientific theory, you debate the merits or faults, you don't go around invoking conspiracy theories, and if you are going to stoop to that level, you probably shouldn't actually go accusing the scientists directly, but rather keep it all nebulous.

    So you agree that all those AGW advocates who attack every opponent by questioning their objectivity and ethics ("he's paid by Big Oil, that's all you need to know") or calling them idiots or worse, are in the wrong. That those who react to every letter in the editor in the local paper that questions AGW with a vitriolic response questioning the author's parents and lineage are behaving poorly.

    I know who you thought you were attacking, but the facts show that the opponents to AGW are a lot more civil about it than most advocates. For the advocates, the debate is OVER, the FACTS are the FACTS, there is no room for doubt, and anyone who doesn't agree is a knuckle-dragger. Yes, AGW is "so easy even a caveman knows it".

    The pseudo-skeptics...

    Yes, such a civil response, you can't even admit they exist.

  • by mswhippingboy ( 754599 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @06:18PM (#31961764)
    Point A:
    Let's dispense with any questions about whether so called "greenhouse gases" can actually cause the "greenhouse" effect.
    Scientists can produce the greenhouse effect in laboratories. This is not speculation, this is empirical evidence. A little knowledge of chemistry (which I believe is still considered "hard" science), and you can understand why. Without the "greenhouse" effect life would not exist on Earth, but would simply be a frozen rock. The greenhouse effect is what keeps the planet warm. We also know empirically that the more CO2 and/or methane that is pumped into a closed system, the greater the effect. Again, this is all elementary earth science. If one is ignorant (or in denial) enough to dispute that there is such an effect, then there is really no point in discussing the issue father, because in their case, facts don't matter.

    Point B:
    We know that certain activities produce greenhouse gases. Burning fossil fuels, cows farting and others all generate quantifiable amounts of CO2 and methane. Again, this is not in question. This can be, and has been proven in laboratories many times. We can also calculate how much CO2 is produced each year though surveying the amount of fossil fuels consumed, so there is no wiggle room here either.

    Point C:
    We know plants absorb CO2 and release oxygen back into the atmosphere. We can also, without doing any guesswork, quantify how much CO2 is absorbed by the density of plant life across the globe. We know without a doubt that the amount of plant life is decreasing as the area of rainforest is decreasing at the rate of about 30 million acres per year. Therefore, it is an absolute fact that the amount of CO2 being absorbed by plant-life is decreasing at an alarming rate. Again, no one (in their right mind) can argue with this fact.

    I'm sorry, but there is just no reasonable justification for denying that there is an increasing greenhouse effect taking place on Earth and that humans are contributing to it. Even if you choose to ignore the measurements taken over the last several years that show the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is increasing and write it off as a natural cycle of the earth. Points A through C are not disputable. Even if there is a natural cycle taking place, wouldn't it be prudent (knowing points A though C) to try and slow the process down by limiting the amount of emissions and reversing the deforestation?
    Do people really have to shoot themselves in the head to know that a bullet going through soft brain tissue is likely to cause some damage?
    I'm all for a healthy debate, but can we check ignorance and stupidity at the door please?
  • by Obfuscant ( 592200 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @06:37PM (#31961928)
    No one goes into climate science to make tons of money, so I would guess majority of climate scientists value other things, like making a difference and being right.

    Unless, of course, you are a climate scientist who is employed by a big oil company or any other industrial research division, in which case you are clearly seeking money.

    Please, every time I hear about how pure the academic scientists are because they aren't in it for the money I want to puke. They may not have gone into the field for the money, but they need money to stay in the field, and guess which of the following two grants will get funded and which won't: 1) man is not the cause of global warming/we're along for the ride on a system controlled in large part by solar output and other effects, give us money to study what they are, or 2) MAN IS DESTROYING THE PLANET, WE MUST BE STOPPED, WE WILL ALL DIE IF YOU DON'T FUND THIS RESEARCH.

    It's a fact: research money goes to fund the squeeky wheel. AIDS activists raise a stink, more money goes to AIDS researchers. Global warming is a crisis we have to solve, more money goes to global warming research. If you are in the field, you are just as likely to bias your research to get the limited grant money as you are to bias your research because big oil bought you off. So, now, the ball's in your court. Either stop automatically branding every industrial scientist as unethical and in the pockets of the oil companies, or admit that there is money going to fund the academics, too. If "big oil" scientists cannot be trusted because of how they get paid, neither can academics.

  • Re:a bit naive... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) * on Friday April 23, 2010 @06:39PM (#31961944) Journal
    "Science is a methodology, what's being dismissed is evidence that contradicts the pervasive theory."

    No, what is being dismissed are red-herrings invented by lobbyists at think tanks such as the heartland institute. Effective propoganda is much cheaper than launching scientific instruments into space. The fact that you imply peer-review is hopelessly corrupt demonstrates how effective that propoganda can be.
  • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @06:45PM (#31962016) Journal

    You think basically accusing the overwhelming majority of climatologists in the world of being part of a left-wing conspiracy to destroy the industrialized world is civil?

    And yeah, I think it's legitimate to question the motives of a scientist whose in the employ of big oil companies when he declares that there's nothing wrong with throwing lots and lots of CO2 into the atmosphere, when that would seem to benefit his employers and himself directly. It doesn't really do climatologists much financial good whether climate change is real or not. Their scientists, and damned few people ever got rich being one.

    I'm not saying the science is perfect, but when the vast majority of researchers in a field of research say "This is real", I tend to give it more weight than a few naysayers. I mean, should evolution be considered questionable because there are an exceedingly small number of people in fields of expertise that relate to biology in one form or another say it's wrong.

    I'm not saying we shouldn't critique it. But, as with evolution, General Relativity and the like, it would be nice if the naysayers weren't either cranks or con artists.

  • by Mr. Slippery ( 47854 ) <> on Friday April 23, 2010 @07:00PM (#31962196) Homepage

    Or are you talking about the oil industry which makes 7-10% profit per year, 5-8% less than what the federal government taxes their product at, plus the additional state taxes upon their product.

    Oh, pity poor Exxon/Mobil, with its profits on the order of $40 billion dollars a year []. This one oil company could only outspend the entire fscking EPA by a factor of slightly less that four-to-one [] and still maintain a profit. We can see how it is that the poor oil industry only constitutes half of the top ten, and only three of the top five, of Fortune's Global 500.

    The taxation levels on oil products are far, far too low. If we paid at the pump for the environmental damage and the foreign policy costs of our oil addiction, gasoline would be at least twice as expensive.

  • by rickb928 ( 945187 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @07:01PM (#31962204) Homepage Journal

    "It would stand on its own, were the media to actually report what the data says"

    The media is pretty much int he tank for global climate change, or global warming, or whatever you're calling it now. Virtually every mainstream media outlet has been pouring out stories about devastating climate change for nearly twenty years now, and probably a bit longer.

    When I say 'media', I mean NBC, CBS, ABC, PBS, NPR, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, Orlando Sentinel, Portland Press Herald, Bangor Daily News, Sacramento Bee, Time Magazine, Newsweek, US News & World Report, Scientific American, Discovery Channel, Science Channel, and many many more.

    What newspaper is similarly touting the naysayers? The tabloids and contrary print media that report on climate change 'deniers' is outnumbered at least 10 to 1, and probably more.

    Most people get all up in arms when Fox News starts reporting on global warming naysayers. One damned network against a half-dozen or more competitors.

    It doesn't seem to take much to upset the global warming crowd. ANY opposition is an affront to them, a personal attack to be answered in the most extreme and violent language available. Actual data is immaterial. The naysayers are demonized, discredited as scientifically illiterate imbeciles, and marginalized as either shills of the responsible industries or seeking to profit from their outbursts.

    The complaint that the media is somehow NOT reporting on the data is ludicrous and entirely contrived, does not conform to the reality, and is false on its face. Get a real argument next time, ok? What a bunch of crap.

  • Re:Ultimately (Score:4, Insightful)

    It's a statistical science. But then again, so is radioactive decay. I take it, to be consistent, that you're now going to declare that we can't possibly measure half-lives of many isotopes because it relies on models.

    What are you talking about? Are you saying radioactive decay is calculated by using a computer model using hundreds of poorly understood variables (with hundreds, if not thousands of "unknown unknowns"), with very little verification -- similar to climatology science?

    What you've done is another favorite anti-evolution tactic, an attempt to declare a particular field of research insufficiently "sciencey", that somehow its tools inadequate or prone to bias, while ignoring that similar tools are used in all other sorts of research.

    And what you've done is a favorite religious tactic, which is dismissing anyone as a heretic who dares to question "the authorities", while not even understanding your own authorities at all.

    If you think climatology is as solid as physics, chemistry or evolution, then you are simply ignorant of how they all work. In fact, don't take my word for it. Go ask a climatologist research if they think their theories and models are as provably accurate as, say, relativity theory, molecular theory or evolutionary theory. I refuse to believe there is one out there that is so dishonest that they would say their level of knowledge is on par with physicists or chemists.

  • by TheTurtlesMoves ( 1442727 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @07:10PM (#31962326)
    Its not 7500000 years of data. Its some years of modern temp readings, and then a lot of modeling of 2nd and 3rd level data to *infer* the rest. These models are subject to.... uncertainties to say the lest. The black and white nature of the debate here is not all that scientific.

    But hay they are scientist... we should just trust them, they know what best.

    Like hell. I am a scientist, and i don't trust me. In God we trust, the rest of you show me the data.
  • by Mr. Slippery ( 47854 ) <> on Friday April 23, 2010 @07:12PM (#31962348) Homepage

    Scientific theories need to be evaluated under a bright light, not hidden away in a closet

    Yes, they do. And climate theories have been evaluated under a bright light. And unlike N rays, or cold fusion, the consensus of knowledgeable experts has emerged that anthropogenic climate change is a real phenomenon.

    especially when hundreds of billions of dollars are going to be taxed every year based on that theory.

    No, the economic implications have nothing to do with the science. There is no "especially" here. In fact, your invocation of it illustrates the motivation behind much of the denial: for whatever reasons of political philosophy, many people find the prospect of carbon taxes disturbing, and so are psychologically motivated to deny the evidence.

    It's rather like a guy having a heart attack who keeps dismissing it as indigestion; it's not necessarily that he's ignorant of the symptoms, but nobody wants to think that a heart attack could happen to them.

  • by Vancorps ( 746090 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @07:21PM (#31962426)

    It sounds like you think they called it climate change to bow to political pressure when it was actually a reflection of how opinions have shifted. The vast majority of climatologists agree that the earth is heating up. The only area being questioned is how much we as humans are responsible and there is plenty of room for debate there.

    The obvious conclusion is that humans aren't the sole cause but are speeding up the natural process. This is also based on a lifetime of observation as any elderly person can tell you about the proper winter's they've had growing up compared to winter's today. Even in my much more limited experience I remember a lot more snow and much colder winters in Vermont and the records hold true. This evidence fits with the data aggregated so its naturally why I'm inclined to believe it.

    Also, they do still use tree rings today along with ice composition.

  • Re:Ultimately (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 23, 2010 @08:05PM (#31962846)

    Yes, he's correct. Show me a QCD complete model of radioactive decay, with a Feynmann graph calculated to all orders. Heck, show me that quantum electrodynamics is renormalizable and admits and embedding of the overly simplistic quantum mechanical models of atoms into it. I'll be impressed if you can even manage a full QED calculation of the energy spectrum of a hydrogen atom.

    Here's the thing: We make simpler models of infinitely complicated systems ALL THE TIME. Radioactive decay is calculated on a massively simplified model of an atom (spherical symmetry holds in a system with a non-isotropic nucleus? I don't thinks so!) so simple that we can do the calculations analytically. But massively massively simplified. We model all kinds of things this way in physics all the time. And not a single honest physicist will tell you that we know everything about it - we don't have a theory of everything, a unified theory. The standard model is even woefully lacking (Gravity?) and as to provable, you've got to be kidding.

    Climatology is at least on a par with solid state physics, or lattice QCD. Here we make huge simplifications in the modeling of a complex system, run the entire analysis on computers and completely ignore certain external forces that we believe to be negligible (Sun spots are to climate change as gravitational self-interaction is to lattice QCD). If you think relativity, molecular theory or evolution are 'provably accurate' you're in for a hell of a shock - just go and talk to someone who's actually done research in any of those fields.

  • Re:Ultimately (Score:2, Insightful)

    by NeutronCowboy ( 896098 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @08:11PM (#31962922)

    What are you talking about? Are you saying radioactive decay is calculated by using a computer model using hundreds of poorly understood variables (with hundreds, if not thousands of "unknown unknowns"), with very little verification -- similar to climatology science?

    Pretty much. Have you ever tried working out the math for just the hydrogen orbit? Now try working out the math for a nice, simple alpha-decay. For one particle.

    As for whether climatology is as accurate as physics.... no. No one claims that. I'll give you another analogy though. I'm gonna flip a coin. Heads or tails? Getting it right is going to be pretty much a crapshot. You can try and calculate it, but good luck with that. However, if I ask you how many heads there'll be after 1000 coins flips, and ask you for only a 95% confidence interval - what's it gonna be? And how sure would you be of your answer?

    Just because something isn't provably correct doesn't mean it isn't useful. Or do you not use any software that isn't provably correct?

  • by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @08:53PM (#31963292) Homepage Journal

    The question is what impact we are having on the climate with the stuff we are pumping in to the atmosphere and what, if anything, we should be doing about it.

    If natural global warming was deemed a threat to us we would have to look for ways to offset it. We are not children you know. It doesn't matter who "did it".

  • by ArcherB ( 796902 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @09:42PM (#31963632) Journal

    Ten thousand scientists in two dozen countries, democratic, communist, totalitarian, capitalist, socialist all working together in concert to trick the world for personal or political gain.

    If you believe that, then there is no hope for you or anyone else who truly thinks that this conspiracy theory has any credence.

    They are the only ones left. Those that didn't carry the torch lost funding, lost credibility and had to find other lines of work. All that is left are the scientist who played ball with those that pay the grants, the politicians!

  • by Rakshasa Taisab ( 244699 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @09:46PM (#31963640) Homepage

    Sorry, the data, collection points (or lack thereof) and analysis methodology make AGW an unlikely hypothesis.

    "The NASA findings indicate a mean worldwide temperature of about 58.496 degrees F., topping the previous record, set in 1995 of 58.154."

    Ya gotta love the touch of using 'about', followed by a world temperature quoted to 1/1000 degree F. why we are justified in assuming such preposterous "accuracies" from processes that have half degree error bars? How do they estimate the Earth's temperature in 1938 to within a half of a degree. I would like to see the procedure used to do that, and the measures employed.

    I just did something funny; I ran those numbers through google converting them from F to C. I got something funny considering science is generally done in celsius.

    58.49600 degrees Fahrenheit = 14.72 degrees Celsius 58.15400 degrees Fahrenheit = 14.53 degrees Celsius

    Seems to me including at least two decimal places would be expected from the scientific community and since they are likely to be based on much of the same instruments and post-processing techniques, the error bar for the temperature change would no doubt be _much_ smaller than the one relating to how close to the actual global temperature those measurements really were. (And it is the former, not the latter, that is important)

    Your ass is flapping in the wind spewing fecal matter all over the place, all that over a simple Celsius to Fahrenheit conversion.

  • by ArcherB ( 796902 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @10:04PM (#31963728) Journal

    There are many reasons to doubt AGW as a legitimate climate change candidate. The shrillness of its proponents not being the least. The FSM is as likely a cause. The sunspot minimum makes a far more beleivable.

    Sunspots increase solar radiation, so I guess the minimum is the reason that temperatures have stayed relatively constant then?

    Regardless of whether AGW is real or not, the thing that pisses me off about the whole scenario is the number of people using it to reject anything that leads to energy independence. By all means, let's continue chugging oil and making Big Oil execs and their Saudi prince friends filthy rich. I don't particularly care if AGW is real, but if it speeds up solar and nuclear energy research and deployment than I'm all for it. You can even say FSM did it, if it makes you happy and reduces our trade deficit.

    No one is saying "let's burn oil like there is no tomorrow". What people are saying is that it is cheaper to drill for oil than to catch the unicorn farts required to power our cars, heat/cool our homes, and drive our economy.

    I agree with the whole "let's cut our dependence on foreign oil bit", but we are not going to do that by banning all domestic energy production. It will take the reasonable efficiency proposals from the liberals and combine them with the feasible domestic energy policies of the conservatives. This means that we drill ANWR and offshore. This means that we tax that oil and use the money for alternative energy research (AND NOTHING ELSE!). It means that we increase automobile efficiency standards. We build nuclear plants. We build wind farms. We do ALL of what is reasonable, not just what one side or the other wants.

    But lets not do it in a such a way that gives more power to the government to control our lives.

  • by Xyrus ( 755017 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @10:22PM (#31963864) Journal

    I lost faith in the climatologists when they stopped calling it global warming and went for the more neutral "climate change." If that isn't an example of politicizing their own debate then I don't know what is.

    What are you talking about? The changed the terminology because most of population, including the mediatainment knowledge-pudding dispensing machine, couldn't muster the neurons to figure out that GLOBAL WARMING != WARM EVERYWHERE. Apparently the concept of global average temperatures increasing and the sometimes non-intuitive results were just too damn complicated and confusing.

    In an effort to make things less confounding, they chose climate change. The thinking was to use a term that was temperature neutral and perhaps lower the instances of Joe Simpleton's response of "It dar be cold here, ain't no global wooormin'!".

    I hold a skeptics view to the whole Global Warming thing, they say that this is what the earth will do in 100 years...yet they can't guess what its going to do next week with any certainty.

    No, you don't hold a skeptics view. You hold an ignorant view. You're statement clearly shows you don't know anything about computer modeling of complex phenomena. You also demonstrate that you don't understand the difference between meteorology and climatology.

    You see, a real skeptic is someone who is educated and understand the material they are skeptical about. You're more like the pitchfork and torch wielding peasant; uneducated but fervent in your beliefs.

    That and I just read two articles on two different news sites on the Same Day, One claiming that the Spring storms come later and later each year due to global warming and the other claiming that spring comes earlier and earlier due to it.

    Again, your criticizing something you don't understand. Try studying (at least) meteorology.

    Also, how the hell can they use data that seems to work for centuries "tree rings" and then STOP using it when it doesn't support their conclusions over the past few decades ie the whole Hide the Decline Fiasco.


    It wasn't just tree rings. Look, we don't have climatological data from satellites going back millions of years, so scientists from various branches use proxies. In the case of climatology, scientists use MULTIPLE proxies in order to get a general idea of what the Earth's climate was like.

    Now in order to get an accurate picture, and indeed, to even use the proxy it has to "check out" with all the rest of data. If a proposed proxy doesn't match (within reason) the other data then it is tossed out.

    In this particular case, the tree ring data held up well as a proxy compared with other sources of data (sediments, isotopes, etc.). However, just recently (within the past 100 years) the tree ring data started to diverge significantly. More to the point, it started to diverge from the actual temperature record (this is being researched). So what do you do? Use the human temperature record which is far more robust and accurate or do you use the RECENT tree ring data which seems to be expressing a flaw?

    Upon further research it may turn out that tree ring data is not a good proxy and the whole data set will be thrown out. Any research based on that data set will have to be redone. The process is called science.

    Be that as it may, you can't really be a skeptic without having any knowledge of subject your being skeptical about (at least in a scientific aspect). There are legitimate skeptics out there. The ask good solid questions and bring up salient points. But basing your skepticism on your own ignorance of the subject material is like building your house on quicksand.


  • by Abcd1234 ( 188840 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @10:33PM (#31963930) Homepage

    And yours is nothing more than an insult with absolutely no refutation of his argument.

    You're right, I didn't. Why? Because no refutation would matter. The difference between short term noise and a long term trend is basic, fundamental statistics. Any introduction to climate science, economics, or any number of other fields would cover this topic. If he wanted to learn the difference, he could find out for himself.

    But, of course, he doesn't want to learn the difference. And even if someone explained it to him, he'd ignore it. Why? Because he's already decided global warming is false, and climatologists don't know what they're doing. At that point, confirmation bias will ensure that he never learns anything that disputes this conclusion, simply because he *doesn't care to learn*. Which is, of course, why he latched onto the stupid "durr, they can't tell me the temperature next week!" meme. He already *wants* to believe global warming is fake, and so an idiotic statement like that rings true.

    Of course, that's the difference between a real skeptic and a denier. A skeptic hears a claim, then attempts to go out and learn something about it for himself. A denier listens to both sides, then picks the arguments that confirm his beliefs.

    You did nothing but attempt to insult him and made your self look like an ignorant ass in the process.

    Says ArcherB, the long-time conservative noisebag and Slashdot troll.

    Please. Go back into your hole, noisebag. You clearly have nothing of value to contribute.

  • by sumdumass ( 711423 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @10:52PM (#31964012) Journal

    Stop being disingenuous. In the years running up to the "15 year period", the global warming crowd was claiming SEE, SEE, the earth is getting hotter, this is the hottest yet and it's because you drive an SUV. Now what has changed since then is not the amount of GHGs being pumped into the atmosphere as one would expect, but instead what has changed is the rise of temperature that was being blamed on the excess GHGs and one of the people making the claim admitting that the warming has stopped for some reason (other thenGHG buildup changes).

    So why don't you tell us what claims you want us to listen to. Is it only the claims made today? Only claims made tomorrow when today's claims are once again not aligning with the observable facts? Or do you fancy rewriting history and ignoring everything that doesn't jive while just cherry picking what you think makes it work? And before you start claiming that the claims weren't made by scientists, you better remember James Hansen of NASA's fame which admitted to falsifying claims because he thought the ends justified the means. Why continue in his footsteps?

  • by bm_luethke ( 253362 ) <luethkeb@comcast. n e t> on Friday April 23, 2010 @11:29PM (#31964282)

    "This has been the most vile aspect of the Conservative war on science"

    That is an interesting way of looking at it given the posts above you that say that anyone who thinks AGW may not be that strong is a right wing hack.

    Sadly this is the issue with the *politicization* of science - many on each side think theirs is the obvious and the other side is waging war on them. Your right, science stands or fails on it own. Conservatives have no war on science - indeed, we find that as the harder core left has made it into office funding for basic space exploration (and no, I do not mean the recent Obama NASA announcement - I personally like the privatization of it and many other conservatives I know do too), energy physics, and a whole host of ideas that have been funded through arguably conservative presidents have been drastically cut in place of research into why carbon emissions are bad, AGW, and other highly politicized topics (and to be fair when Bush took office a similar thing happened there too). Talking about a Conservative war on science is only perpetuating the problem from the other end.

    Conservatives have a war on left thought masquerading as science as much of the AGW proponents do. Liberals have a war against conservative thought masquerading as science as many of the Oil Companies produce. In reality we should have a war one *all* of that, one side isn't the lamb here fighting the good fight.

    Until we come to that understanding things are going to deteriorate in our scientific knowledge. Not only that but as that pseudo-science becomes more and more prominent it is going to take MUCH more work to root it out. We can already see that with the almost universally agreed upon fallout from the so called "climategate" - that is the CRU data set is flawed and has to be removed from models and redone (we are basically arguing how and why at this point, not if). Conclusions that were considered solid and based on other data is turning out to be entangled with it in a primary matter. It's not the first time, I recall when Jane Goodall's data on Apes was discovered to be simply wrong, that she had either left out major finds or fabricated data because she was afraid how it would make them look to others. So much science at the time was based on what she did that it took years to unravel and no one is sure if it even is now decades later. We know what her motives were and why in that field her name is mud (sadly in the media she is still a major voice), but in this case it is so widespread that many could be truly earnest in thier desire to produce good works but GIGO rules here. In both cases there were plenty of warning signs that *should* have resulted in the problems being outed at the start but a combination of politics, money, fame, and pressure from those needing it to be true silenced it.

    Even if their complaints with his conclusions are 100% correct (doubtful - AGW skeptics are taking this to mean AGW is wrong, it doesn't say that. It simply means we are back to not knowing as much as we thought we did - though people claiming the science is still rock solid aren't helping when it obviously isn't) I suspect that this newspaper will loose unless they have something fairly strong that this individual was dishonest. Wrong is not dishonest, at least as far as US law is concerned (I suspect Canada is similar just because most first world countries are) they are going to have to prove to some degree greater than 50% that he knew he was not telling the truth. That's hard to do - if they had said incompetence then they may get away with it, but even then that is hard to show too, but they claimed dishonesty.

  • Re:a bit naive... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by smashin234 ( 555465 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @11:46PM (#31964410) Journal

    Peer-review is not supposed to be the end of science. But in global warming we hear "Consensus! Peer-reviewed!" But that is besides the point.

    Even saying that, the IPCC WG4 has only 70% of its references from peer-reviewed sources. And even if that is not enough...

    Science is supposed to be duplicated and experimented with and replicated before its set in stone as solid. Global warming from greenhouse gases is set in stone. The amount this is warming the Earth is NOT. Feedback effects and factors are not set in stone. This is still being studied.

    And when this science is making decisions that will effect every nation in the world, the litmus test must be that much higher. Even one mistake is cause to look it over in detail simply because so much money is involved in the end. Did you know that Al Gore's company that sells carbon credits is worth 3 billion dollars? Propaganda exists on both sides of this argument whether you want to believe it or not.

  • Re:Ultimately (Score:2, Insightful)

    by quokkaZ ( 1780340 ) on Saturday April 24, 2010 @04:05AM (#31965490)

    Climate models have had notable successes:

    1. Hansen's model from the early 80s predicted about the right amount of surface temperature change they we see today

    2. This model successfully predicted the cooling effect of the Pinotubo volcano in the early 90's

    3. Climate models all predict the cooling of the stratosphere and the warming of the troposphere agreeing closely with observation.

    4. When the UAH satellite record diverged from both the instrumental surface temperature record and the models (much to the delight of the deniosaurs) it transpired that the calculations in the UAH record contained errors and the climate models were right. The UAH record now agrees pretty much with the surface record and the models.

    5. The climate models predicted the rapid warming of the poles especially the arctic. They have been proved right with dramatic warming of the arctic.

    Finally, climate models are PHYSICAL models - not statistical models. Drawing some silly distinction between climatology and say physics is a nonsense. It is physics, chemistry, geology etc etc. applied to the study of climate. Attempts to designate it as a second class science because certain people don't like it's conclusions are contemptible.

    Models and computer models and physical computer models are used all over science and engineering. Heard of finite element analysis? The three body problem ? Just because a model doesn't tell us everything, it doesn't mean it tells us nothing. In fact it may tell us rater a lot with high confidence.

  • by Gadget_Guy ( 627405 ) * on Saturday April 24, 2010 @04:20AM (#31965550)

    In other words, climate changes is being run by socialists (who want everyone to drive equal cars), PETA (who doesn't want people eating helpless animals), and the Sierra Club (who wants plants to have rights).

    Let me get this straight. You think that socialists, PETA and the Sierra Club have managed to buy out virtually all the climate scientists of the world? Where did they get the money for that? And what evidence do you have for this? For such a massive conspiracy, there would have to be a large paper trail. There would be evidence of these organisations funding research groups, just like we see evidence of anti-climate change think tanks being funded by industry at places like SourceWatch [].

    I guess you are saying that SUVs don't produce more CO2 than smaller cars, that cows don't produce massive amounts of methane and that deforestation has no effect on the ability of this planet to convert CO2 to O2. Well you would be wrong. On one hand you have these proven scientific facts, while on the other hand you have unproven conspiracies that have been supposedly committed by people who I doubt would have the organisational skills to pull it off. Which seems more likely?

  • by h4rm0ny ( 722443 ) on Saturday April 24, 2010 @05:20AM (#31965736) Journal

    I'm not saying we shouldn't critique it. But, as with evolution, General Relativity and the like, it would be nice if the naysayers weren't either cranks or con artists.

    Nice parting shot - 'naysayers are cranks or con artists'. I'm afraid that supports what he's saying. If you read through and story about AGW on /., what you see are a lot of skeptics questioning facts and a lot of believers throwing around insults, accusations of corruption, idiocy or being supporters of the Republican party. The difference is pretty dramatic. Also, there are endless strawmen used against skeptics. Repeatedly anyone who expresses skepticism of that the bulk of global warming can be shown to be caused by man are then presumed to be saying there is no global warming. People doubting AGW are then presumed to have some particular political slant for the mass consumption of fossil fuels. For example, I have significant doubts about AGW, and am highly pro-nuclear and renewable resources. But for other environmental and political reasons than AGW. Yet I say one thing against AGW on /. and I am suddenly showered in comments about peak oil, my SUV driving and any other assumptions people here want to make about who I am and what I believe.
    The GP is right. If someone doubts AGW on /. or elsewhere, then for every one supportable counter argument someone posts that references the facts, another five will post commenting on the skeptic's intelligence, political bias and even, hillariously, that they must be in the pay of the Oil industry. I've even seen my legitimate comments deleted from a national newspaper's website (the Independent, in the UK), not for any tone or rudeness, but for actually pointing out genuine mistakes (not just debatable conclusions) in the article writer's piece. If Science were a matter of polite, focused discussion, rather than about factual accuracy, then the AGW proponents here on /. would have lost the debate long ago. As it is about factual accuracy, then all the hate and insults many of them produce really just contribute nothing.

  • by OeLeWaPpErKe ( 412765 ) on Saturday April 24, 2010 @07:10AM (#31966074) Homepage

    et me get this straight. You think that socialists, PETA and the Sierra Club have managed to buy out virtually all the climate scientists of the world? Where did they get the money for that?

    Like all good socialists, they don't have money. Instead they used any and all influence they have anywhere, from government to university boards to physical attack in some cases, to attack anyone not on their side.

    There are NO scientists funding their own research anymore (used to be a basic requirement of being called "objective"). It just doesn't exist. Corporate research departments, like IBM's or Philips' have are the closest thing to impartial organisations we have in this day and age. Or perhaps, one should say, they're not objective either, but they're the only scientists not 95% dependant upon the government. So they're the only ones who might come up with a viewpoint independantly of the government.

    And what evidence do you have for this?

    You know, much more proof than is available than just walking into just about any university's "human sciences" (in case you don't know "climate" is not an exact science at all) department and talking to just about anyone is not really needed.

    Or just ask a student you how they think of unemployment. Or just look up a few articles on the split of political parties in any university. You'll notice, that the percentages are entirely different than those in the general population, nearly exclusively democrat (and not "sensibly" democrat, loony democrat).

    Unless of course, you think that somehow there are barely any republicans that have any measure of intelligence at all. That would, of course, make you a racist.

    For such a massive conspiracy, there would have to be a large paper trail. There would be evidence of these organisations funding research groups

    As previously stated, very nearly all university research is sponsored by the quintessential political organisation : the government. Despite this, there is no shortage of socialist (and communist) organisations funding research in large universities. The paper trail is ineed lengthy and obvious for all to see if you just take a look.

    Of course, you believe money only corrupts if it's from the other side. I understand the dilemma of someone who's genuinly pro-agw ... just about all the research money comes from pro-agw groups or parties, or from anti-agw groups or parties, and there are hardly any scientists at all that receive no funding (so the only real option you have is to take some numbers and see if you can correlate them yourself. And as anyone who's tried to correlate co2 concentration and temperature over 2000 years of history knows : they don't correlate. They "seem" somewhat related on the graph but the best correlation number I can get (by time shifting either forward or backward in time) is about 0.2, which is not enough by far)

    It's also an absurd misconception that oil giants are against global warming legislation. Well, this may be true for the truly idiotically evil amongst them (*cough* aramco *cough*), but you should sit back for 2 seconds and think about such giants as BP, Esso, and Shell. The ones that get blamed, because greens are not interested in anyone, no matter how evil, that isn't in their backyard. That they can't nail and shame publically. And so aramco gets a free pass, as does venezuela.

    BP, Esso, and Shell, despite what people seem to think, do not make their money from mining oil (not the biggest part anyway). They make their money from reprocessing oil. Biofuels, for example, are mostly, if not all, processed by these guys (esp. in Europe). Since their oil sources are in serious decline (mostly due to political factors : the world-wide nationalization of oil fields. It doesn't just happen in Venezuela). Furthermore their margins on selling actually mined oil are growing thinner by the month, due to price pressures from both sides (supp

  • Re:Exonerated? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by 16K Ram Pack ( 690082 ) <> on Saturday April 24, 2010 @08:19AM (#31966300) Homepage
    So, they've published the method by which they modified the raw temperature data? Last thing I heard, they'd lost it.

God help those who do not help themselves. -- Wilson Mizner