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Earth Science Politics

Of Diamond Planets, Climate Change, and the Scientific Method 821

A few weeks ago, we discussed the discovery of a diamond planet in orbit around a pulsar. One of the researchers behind the discovery has now written a followup article about reaction to the news from the media and laypeople. Quoting: "The attention we received was 100% positive, but how different that could have been. How so? Well, we could have been climate scientists. ... Instead of sitting back and basking in the glory, I suspect we’d find a lot of commentators, many with no scientific qualifications, pouring scorn on our findings. People on the fringe of science would be quoted as opponents of our work, arguing that it was nothing more than a theory yet to be conclusively proven. There would be doubt cast on the interpretation of our data and conjecture about whether we were “buddies” with the journal referees. If our opponents dug really deep they might even find that I’d once written a paper on a similar topic that had to be retracted. Before long our credibility and findings would be under serious question. But luckily we’re not climate scientists."
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Of Diamond Planets, Climate Change, and the Scientific Method

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @08:18AM (#37385412)
    Not everybody has any gripe with climate scientists because they are climate scientists. However, if a scientist, be they even climate scientists, decide to turn political, then they should expect to be treated just as any other political personality. That includes crap, hate-mail, scorn, etc. Sorry, but such is life. You don't like the smoke, stay out of the damned kitchen.
  • by Giant Electronic Bra ( 1229876 ) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @08:22AM (#37385440)

    Really, just because climate science has immediate implications in the real world doesn't make it politics nor the scientists doing that research political. People need to get their heads out of their butts and realize that science is science and if they don't like the implications of that then it is their own tough crap. Not that this will ever happen or that any climate scientists can ever expect to actually be treated in a fair, rational, or even civil manner by the barbarian hordes.

  • The big difference (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fridaynightsmoke ( 1589903 ) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @08:22AM (#37385442) Homepage

    The difference is that when a scientist says "we believe that there is a diamond planet" people either say "cool" or "I doubt that, but it doesn't really matter". When climate scientists say is often used to justify restricting in various ways things that most people either rely on or enjoy. That's the difference.

  • Proximity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @08:23AM (#37385460)

    Tell a man there are a billion stars in the galaxy and he'll believe you; tell him the paint is wet and he'll touch it to find out....

  • by alci63 ( 1856480 ) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @08:25AM (#37385468)
    Galileo once "turned political", that is he described scientific facts that had a political impact. No wonder he was treated like a political ! Damned pseudo scientists that go into politics !
  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn&gmail,com> on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @08:25AM (#37385470) Journal
    Not even a month ago I tried this same logic in a post [slashdot.org] (and probably in earlier posts):

    The climate scientists are the experts. You're not suddenly compelled to rip apart the latest Computer Science study as an armchair computer scientist because you haven't studied it. Why are people suddenly compelled to call climate scientists -- who are basically the same figureheads in academia that computer scientists are -- into question? When did everyone get PhDs in climate science? Why wasn't I given one? And why are all the major journals publishing and defending global warming studies only to be ignored?

    Surprise surprise, no one cares. You can point out the scientific consensus [wikipedia.org] or ask why there are no political witch hunts in other fields [slashdot.org] and people just don't seem to even respond to my concerns because they just saw a two minute YouTube video and suddenly they're informed and ready to discredit someone who has devoted their life to studying this field and reading papers. CFCs were bad, that was okay, everyone gobbled that up. Everyone saw maps of the ozone layer and totally trusted the scientists that it was CFCs doing it ... not just a regular natural process. Show someone a map of ice coverage on the Arctic Circle [upi.com] and tell them it's greenhouse gases at work. Suddenly the same scientists are lying to them. What the hell is different about these two scenarios? I've pretty much given up the fight ...

  • Re:Politics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Arlet ( 29997 ) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @08:25AM (#37385474)

    Wouldn't it make more sense, then, to attack the policy and politicians, rather than deny the science ?

  • Duh. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by therealkevinkretz ( 1585825 ) * on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @08:30AM (#37385544)

    Nobody's demanding trillions of dollars in infrastructure changes because of the diamond star. Nobody's using the coercive force of law to dictate what mileage automobiles get becaus of the diamond star. Nobody's outlawing 100W incandescent light bulbs because of the diamond star.

  • by DNS-and-BIND ( 461968 ) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @08:33AM (#37385564) Homepage
    The reason is that the diamond planet is not being used to advance a political objective. Climate science is. It's always unfortunate to see science politicized, but global warming mongers are abusing science to create an atmosphere of urgency in order to pass legislation to satisfy a leftist agenda. Sorry to say, but that's the truth. All of science suffers, but to global warming proponents it's worth the cost if they win.
  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn&gmail,com> on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @08:37AM (#37385596) Journal

    When climate scientists say is often used to justify restricting in various ways things that most people either rely on or enjoy.

    I challenge you to present me one published paper where a climate scientist tells me what I can and can't do. Or even where they merely suggest restrictions of what a person can do. All the papers I read say things to effect of "In X years, the northern ice cap could recede to Y size [upi.com]" or "Greenhouses gases have contributed to a rise in temperatures." What you want to do with that information is up to you. It's not the place of scientists to call for political or even international policy on carbon credits or cap and trade or whatever you want to do to control this problem. So why do the scientists get attacked? Attack the politicians and say "I'm okay with fucking up the Earth for my children because I want the freedom to buy a Hummer that gets 8 miles to the gallon." Use your voice and stand up for yourself, don't attack the scientists. They aren't setting the policies, they're just telling you what is happening. What's that? That sentence makes you sound like an idiot? Well, go ahead and attack the scientists then but be warned you've got an awful lot of targets [wikipedia.org].

  • Policy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pgn674 ( 995941 ) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @08:43AM (#37385636) Homepage
    The article hints at this but never says it outright: The reason climate change is controversial among those with little or no scientific background or training while diamond planets are not is because climate change research affects many governmental regulation policies. If the diamond planet idea is wrong, then corrections to theories are made, and the field moves on. If it's right, then it may contribute to the development of helpful technologies and discoveries. But if a climate change idea is wrong, then corrections to theories are made, and the field moves on, and either the world economy has suffered for no reason or people are experiencing famines that could have been prevented. Thus, controversial.
  • by Errol backfiring ( 1280012 ) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @08:45AM (#37385670) Journal
    Just like the USA. And guess what? The climate change can even be noticed here in the Netherlands. There are always polluters and there are even always big polluters. But I fail to see why that is a reason to demolish your local country as well. Britain is quite beautiful if you are in the countryside.
  • by Nickodeimus ( 1263214 ) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @08:50AM (#37385746)
    You are dead on. The majority of people will say to an announcement like this: what does this mean to me. Diamond planet - cool, that's an interesting thought. wonder what it looks like. etc. It has no meaningful impact to our lives. Climate change, on the other hand, has a potentially large impact on our lives all the way down to the poorest person on the street. Carbon credits, government taxation, cap and trade, etc. It has a direct impact on how we live our lives. And by and large, people do not like change.
  • by tmosley ( 996283 ) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @08:59AM (#37385846)
    It is neither overwhelmingly verified nor agreed upon. Even if it was, so was terracentrism.

    And what is uncomfortable and inconvenient for Americans is deadly for poor people around the world. I guess you forgot that not everyone is as rich as you are, or that the primary purpose of the economy is to ensure that everyone's desires are met, most especially the stringent desire to live. But you would ignore that based on some mumbo-jumbo about how the Earth is going to do SOMETHING to make things somehow worse, ignoring the fact that the "solution" is far, far worse than the "problem".

    So blind, egotistical self righteousness trumps brown people getting enough food to eat. Yeah, that'll work.
  • The way I see it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by grimmjeeper ( 2301232 ) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @09:03AM (#37385898) Homepage

    The difference between the diamond planet discovery and climate science is politics. The reason amateurs attack the climate science has nothing to do with the science and everything to do with a political objective. But the same can be said for the supporters. Al Gore is not a climate scientist. He has a significant financial interest in climate science reaching a particular conclusion. He has significant investment in the whole business of climate change.

    Now, I'll agree that most who attach climate science are kooks. But that's not the real problem. The real problem is that the whole issue is so incredibly polarized that no legitimate critique of climate science ever gets a voice because it is universally written off with the overwhelming number of idiots on the right. According to "everyone", climate science is 100% settled and there is no questioning it. But once you get past the people pushing the political agendas and talk to the real scientists, you'll find that the attitude isn't so set in stone. They want to keep studying it so they can understand more about it because they don't all believe that it's 100% set in stone.

    Scientists want to learn more. They want to understand the incredibly complex system that is our environment. They want to know more about how things work so they can make better predictions about what is coming. They don't care about pushing a political agenda. But they're too busy working on research to tell the general public that the politicians are misrepresenting their findings.

  • the political objective becomes a logical product of the climate science. you are suggesting the science is being used by leftists. what if the science just naturally and inevitably supports what leftists are saying?

    example: evolution. the idea we evolved from now extinct species that were more like apes, then rodents, then sea slime, challenges religious beliefs that posits that, for example, a god made man in his image. a religious scholar might comment that atheists are using evolution to destroy religion. but what if evolution just naturally and without any prompting, challenges age-old religious beliefs?

    at some point, you are going to have to concede that the science challenges your political beliefs, without any contrived or phony effort or dubious agenda. then you are going to have to give up your political beliefs, or continue to cling to them in denial of what science says. not because leftists have won, but because reality has won

  • by Sockatume ( 732728 ) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @09:05AM (#37385946)

    Social impact is a necessary but not sufficient condition. The social impact of discovering XYZ causes cancer, or can extend your lifespan, or whatever is equally important to people's quality of life, but it doesn't get nearly as much scrutiny. People generally accept the research at face value. (If only people would actually scrutinise a newspaper report in which it's revealed that chocolate has lots of antioxidants, via a study sponsored by Hershey and Googolplex Cinemas.) Climate science is argued back and forth because it's something people are conditioned to treat as a controversial issue. There are other topics - vaccination, mobile phone health - where a scientific consensus with a large impact on people's lives is presented as a controversial issue because it's one of the press's main "stories" to tell, and not because there is a genuine issue.

  • LEARN TO READ (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MokuMokuRyoushi ( 1701196 ) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @09:06AM (#37385954) Journal

    You're the third person to claim he's attacking the scientist(s), and you even quoted the freaking sentence!

    When[what] climate scientists say is often used

    Often used? By the scientist(s)?

    to justify restricting in various ways things that most people either rely on or enjoy.

    Nope! Turns out he said absolutely nothing about whether or not the scientist(s) is(are) wrong, or right, or ordering you around, or simply providing information. He said that the information provided by the scientist(s) in question is used by *someone* to justify restrictions. You are attacking the OP for saying the exact same thing you yourself are saying.

    All clear?

  • Re:Duh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KeensMustard ( 655606 ) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @09:07AM (#37385964)
    You live the real world now. You can't run to mummy and have her kiss your boo boo and make it better. If you drop your ice cream, nobody has to buy you another. Crying about it won't make it happen any longer. These are problems for adults, and they demand an adult response.

    Nobody's demanding trillions of dollars in infrastructure changes because of the diamond star. Nobody's using the coercive force of law to dictate what mileage automobiles get becaus of the diamond star.

    Unmitigated climate change, will, at best conservative estimates [wikipedia.org], cost us 20% of the worlds output, plunging the world economy into depression - as well causing an unprecedented extinction event, and causing millions of people to become refugees. In contrast, taking action now will cost us much less - maybe 3-5% of the worlds GDP for a few years while we upgrade our infrastructure and transport strategies. The adult response is to live with the fact that our light bulbs and vehicles are now better than they were before. The adult response is to recognise that we have the responsibility to act, that we have no right to steal from and impoverish the generations that will follow us. The adult response is to recognise that we cannort expect someone else to fix our boo boo.

  • by SlippyToad ( 240532 ) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @09:07AM (#37385972)

    Actually what climate scientists' findings on global warming imply is that we should improve our energy efficiency.

    That will actually improve things for the OVERWHELMING MAJORITY of folks. The only people who are going to lose out on energy efficiency are a handful of parasites whose contributions to this world we will assuredly not miss.

    Thus, the massive paid campaign of disinformation carried out by the SELECT FEW whose business interests will be impacted by improving things for the rest of them.

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but those select few people can go fuck themselves in the ear.

  • Re:Politics (Score:4, Insightful)

    by capnkr ( 1153623 ) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @09:13AM (#37386052)
    I'm not so sure that everyone who isn't "on the AGW/ACC bandwagon" are _denying_ the science of climate study. Rather, I think they are questioning the knee-jerk solutions to a "problem" not yet fully defined, the sometimes overreaching conclusions made from a dataset still in development, and also motives of those politicians and scientists who stand to profit from said 'solutions', yet who preach loudest about applying their pet 'solutions' *right now*.

    "The climate" is not, nor has it ever been, a static system. We have only begun to study it in earnest. Let's let the science and data develop, before we go salting the oceans with rust to cause plankton blooms, and other such possibly world-changing 'solutions'. Let's employ rationality and healthy skepticism to further our understanding, before we go trying to "fix" what may well prove to be natural forces in action.
  • by AB3A ( 192265 ) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @09:14AM (#37386068) Homepage Journal

    First, the study of climate (or astronomy) is not strictly a science. There are no opportunities to conduct controlled experiments. This is not inherently bad, but one must be careful not to label something a "science" when a sincere argument can be made that it is not. Luminaries such as Richard Feynman made such arguments, so I don't think one would be in bad company when saying that this study is not a science.

    Second, the study of climate is fraught with error. Again, there is nothing wrong with this. Without the ability to conduct a controlled experiment, the best one can do is to model what is going on and to hypothesize why the model doesn't agree with observations or make accurate predictions.

    The wrongness is when those very same people take their study results in to the political limelight and say to the effect "This is the sky; it is falling; and you must do as I say or evil will happen." Doesn't the notion of conflict of interest enter here?

    There are many responses to how we could manage our changing climate. I am happy to read the research. I may read a suggestion regarding the responses. But really, it got a bad name because too many political hacks took a centralized conservation approach and built a phony baloney market in Carbon Dioxide indulgences that most researchers agree will have a minimal effect on the climate, while ignoring other potentially much more serious Green House Gasses like Methane.

    Astronomy doesn't have this problem because astronomy is primarily a study of discoveries with very few implications on politics. And no, I don't see a good reason to call it a science, either.

  • by DrgnDancer ( 137700 ) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @09:16AM (#37386096) Homepage

    First of all, the "Oracles" are being interpreted by hundreds, if not thousands, of people the world over and the vast majority of them are coming to the same conclusion... Second of all, no one is saying we need to condemn ourselves to eternal poverty, only that we need to find alternatives. Third, most of what "they" want us to do is good in all kinds of ways beside reducing climate change even if you choose not to believe it, unless you really like living in smog or something.

    Beyond all of that is the clear evidence of the eyes. The planet is getting warmer on average. There are some other potential explanations for this, but none of them makes as much immediate sense as "All these insulating gases we produce cause insulation." (Occam's Razor and all that) The high level of solar activity recently is a likely contributing factor, but similar levels of activity have been seen before without the dramatic increase in temps we're seeing now.

    At worst it's a risk/reward scenario:

    Fact: the planet is growing warmer.
    Fact: this is extremely bad for human civilization for a number of very obvious reasons.
    Supportable theory: Part of the cause of this warming is human greenhouse emissions.
    Supportable theory: There are various other external and uncontrollable environmental factors contributing

    Given the potentially huge cost involved in the trend continuing (like the loss of most coastal cities in the world and lots of arable land), doesn't it make sense to do something about the one controllable factor in the equation? Even if we're not 100% sure?

  • Re:Proximity (Score:2, Insightful)

    by vlm ( 69642 ) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @09:29AM (#37386232)

    tell him the paint is wet and he'll touch it to find out....

    He should believe you on faith alone?

    According to many people, yes.

    Some religious nut types have correctly identified that at least some fraction (maybe a large one) of people who "believe in evolution" are merely faithful believers in whatever someone in a position of authority says. If that position of authority has a dude who was good at calculus in it, but failed philosophy and history, maybe that blind faith is misguided, and a guy with admittedly peculiar beliefs about a white old man in the sky who also got an A+ in philosophy and history would, in a blind faith environment, be a better recipient of blind faith on average. If you're talking solely about sheep, the religious nuts ARE correct, the "history nerd" probably would, on average, be a better hero worshiped leader of men, most of the time in most situations, than the "math nerd".

    They categorically deny that someone can think and rationally decide, that anything other than blindly faithful sheep can exist, and that drives atheists / scientists types absolutely bonkers if they happen to be part of the small subset of thinkers who agree with the conclusions, not simply hero worshipping their professors and going with the herd.

  • by CrimsonAvenger ( 580665 ) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @09:38AM (#37386342)

    Actually what climate scientists' findings on global warming imply is that we should improve our energy efficiency.

    That will actually improve things for the OVERWHELMING MAJORITY of folks. The only people who are going to lose out on energy efficiency are a handful of parasites whose contributions to this world we will assuredly not miss.

    If you approach "improve energy efficiency" from the perspective of "when old, inefficient devices wear out, replace them with high-efficiency devices", then no argument.

    If, on the other hand, your notions of "improve energy efficiency" reduce to "everyone, everywhere, has to get rid of their old, inefficient devices and replace them RIGHT NOW with new, higher efficiency devices", then "improving energy efficiency" means hardship for all but the very rich everywhere.

  • by sycodon ( 149926 ) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @09:38AM (#37386350)

    While it's not exactly a peer reviewed protest, James hansen was recently arrested protesting [thinkprogress.org]...you guessed it, a fossil fuel enabling device, aka the Keystone Pipeline.

    Among the "scientific" things he said were, "Exploitation of tar sands would make it implausible to stabilize climate and avoid disastrous global climate impacts.” and "“For the sake of our children and our grandchildren, we must find somebody who is working for our dream.”

    I'm no scientists, but I dare say invoking "for the children" is not a part of the scientific method. Now he's no different the Babs Streisand or Meyl Streep.

    Hansen is the poster child for AGW and it appears he's fully made the transition from scientist to political activist. And if you believe this isn't a common mindset throughout the AGW community, I have a Hummer that get's 100mpg to sell you. They are just too chicken shit to say it outright.

  • by BrokenHalo ( 565198 ) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @09:39AM (#37386360)

    Nobody is ignoring anything.

    Well, that's not quite true. There are lots of people who are sticking their fingers in their ears and going "lalalalalalala...".

    The worst of it is those who insist that just because yesterday and today were cold in Lower Pisshaven, that somehow disproves the notion of climate change, under the common oversimplification of "global warming".

    There is no perception of climate change that is going to be universally useful. If you live on a little atoll in the Pacific, or if you happen to be a polar bear, you should be seriously worried. But if you are a farmer in Greenland, it's quite possible that you're in luck...

  • Re:LEARN TO READ (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Fishead ( 658061 ) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @09:40AM (#37386378)

    This is EXACTLY the problem with climate science.

    A guy brings up a relevant point on the fact that the science has an effect on our society, and then is torn to pieces by the carbon haters and the carbon lovers without ever hinting at which side of the argument he sits on.

    Me personally, I dislike that I have been saddled by another tax in an already grim economic time. If it wasn't so hit and miss with basic survival right now, I might see it a bit differently. That being said, if we could have emotionless and politic free discussions on the whole issue, we'd all be better off. I'd like to know what the truth is, but just like the guy standing on my doorstep with his own translation of the bible, I want to know what your agenda is before I want to hear how I should change my life. Also, when your man at the top is profiting from me making another financial sacrifice, I better at least be able to see some open scientific discussion.

  • by gtall ( 79522 ) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @09:41AM (#37386400)

    I fail to see how the inability to create suns and planets has hampered Astronomy's claim to be a science. A science (go back and read your definitions) has a more or less formal theory and can make verifiable predictions. It is not predicated on conducting controlled experiments where we get to control every thing. They call it a natural science for a reason. Biology is similar, we cannot control for all the variables, and it isn't not a science just because we cannot create our own living cells.

  • by Eunuchswear ( 210685 ) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @09:43AM (#37386418) Journal

    Then we have the fact that the earth hasn't warmed in the last 10 years.

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/wti/from:2001/to:2011/plot/wti/from:2001/to:2011/trend [woodfortrees.org]

    Oh, you mean you're picking your cherries from HADCRUT? Not so worried about tricks when you want your cherries are you?

    (Not that any of this is relevant, only a clown would imagine that 10 years were statisticaly significant).

  • by gtbritishskull ( 1435843 ) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @09:52AM (#37386564)

    How many humans were living on the land you are sitting on when it was at the bottom of a tropical sea? Underneath mile tall glaciers? Did you say none?

    How many less humans will be living on the land you are sitting on if it changes drastically (sea, glaciers)? How many wars will those displaced humans cause? How much will the unrest disrupt our civilization and the rate of technological progress? How many people will suffer and die due to those changes?

    The truth is irrelevant, not inconvenient.

    Sure... keep on telling yourself that. I am not worried about "saving mother earth" or any crap like that. "Mother Earth" will survive. Humans have built their cities in convenient places (on the coast, next to rivers, near fertile land with plenty or rainfall). How well can humans adapt when the climate changes (coastal areas underwater, rivers flood, fertile land does not get rain)?

  • by RazorSharp ( 1418697 ) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @09:55AM (#37386600)

    Subsistence farmers in third world countries probably won't be affected by any first world legislation that attempts to protect the environment.

    This is Slashdot, not some debate between mindless politicians where you can hide behind unverifiable talking points. People call you on your bullshit here, which I'm about to do:

    Your argument is set up thus: Attempting to counteract the climate change scientists believe humans have caused is so catastrophic to the world's economy that doing so would be morally reprehensible. But one does not follow the other. Those who benefit from treating the planet poorly are multi-billion dollar corporations, not subsistence farmers in Bangladesh. Not primitive tribes in Brazil. Not your sweatshop worker in China. Brown people eating isn't the cause of our environmental problems. What does brown people eating have to do with all the crude oil that's floating around in the Gulf of Mexico? Beef production has a costly toll on the environment, but most brown people I know don't eat beef (http://www.mcdonaldsindia.com/menu.html).

    Furthermore, I would argue that treating the planet with more respect would cost these multi-billion dollar companies a lot of money. And that money would go into the economy rather than sit in some corporation's bank account.

    I'm not confirming or denying that climate change is leading the planet to disaster. But it is better to err on the side of caution. To argue that treating the planet responsibly could result in the starvation for anybody is absurd (not to mention that, it's not evident that feeding a few takes moral priority over sustaining the planet that EVERYONE depends on - it definitely fails the utilitarian model). You have less evidence that heeding climate scientists' warnings will cause starvation than the climate scientists have that the climate is changing for the worse.

  • Re:Proximity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bemopolis ( 698691 ) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @10:15AM (#37386840)

    tell him the paint is wet and he'll touch it to find out....

    He should believe you on faith alone?

    No, but if the guy telling you that the paint is wet is
    standing there with a brush and bucket of the same color, and fresh splatters on his overalls;
    and you heard some fat drug addict on the radio said that "Hitler was a painter! They want your light bulbs!";
    and fuck, you never painted anything yourself but what does this brush-toting shit know about it;
    and sure, you saw him touching the brush to the bench as you were walking up, but you just *feel* that no one has enough data to know about the bench since *you* don't;
    plus, on Sunday your preacher said that only SkyDaddy Longbeard can paint a bench;
    and THEN you touch the paint to see if it's wet, then YOU ARE A FUCKING IDIOT. And an asshole to boot.

    Signed, a Painter (but not of benches), who has received enough crackpot letters from armchair fuckfaces and religious shitheads to know the goddam score.

  • by hsthompson69 ( 1674722 ) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @10:21AM (#37386902)

    it is a problem we need to solve no matter the cause

    You start with the unsupportable assumption that a warmer world is worse for humanity or the biosphere. Historical evidence shows clearly expansions of humanity and ecosystems during warmer periods, even periods *much* warmer than today (for example, the Late Eocene with near tropical temperatures in Antarctica).

    How about we do this - let's come up with a falsifiable hypothesis regarding "a warm world is more dangerous for humanity". What observations, either past, present or future, could make you change your mind?

  • by tehcyder ( 746570 ) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @10:38AM (#37387096) Journal

    I'm supposed to believe them based on blind faith or a bunch of indirect evidence presented at me with no long term directly observed facts to back it up?

    No, you're supposed to believe them when you carefully weigh up the huge weight of accumulated scientific evidence. But, of course, it's much easier to carry on living as you are, stick your fingers in your ears and say "I can't hear you".

  • by c6gunner ( 950153 ) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @12:48PM (#37388982)

    For years, a "Vast Majority" of scientists and doctors said that smoking doesn't cause cancer.

    As soon as we actually started doing studies into the health effects of smoking, the cancer link became clear immediately. The Nazis did the original research in the 1920's, though their research was largely ignored due to the political situation which followed shortly after. When the Brits undertook their own research in 1950, it took only 4 years before the scientific consensus was solidly behind the smoking-cancer link. The following "controversy" was caused entirely by exactly the same type of nonsense that's going on today: big business funding their own "science", and media reporting fringe views as if they were equivalent to the scientific consensus.

    First a hacker exposed a major scientist fully admitting the numbers were fudged to show global warming models working

    No, that's bullshit.

    The second was excused because the scientist was a skeptic *gasp* and believed Intelligence Design is plausible... therefore he can't be a "real" scientist.

    More bullshit.

    There is reason to doubt, and people who do doubt shouldn't be ridiculed. I prefer my science to be more like science than religion.

    There is reason to doubt some parts, and there is always room for healthy skepticism. However, there is a massive difference between skepticism and cynicism. The vast majority of the "climate change skeptics" I've met are simply ideologues repeating talking points; they don't bother to do any research, they don't understand the science, and they have no interest in learning anything - they only care about voicing their opinion as loudly as possible, while ridiculing scientists and dismissing any research they don't like. That's not skepticism.

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