Aussie Linkorama

  • The “debunking” of global warming? Myth. Again. But the Denialists now have another few years of ammunition. Look how much mileage they’ve gotten out of the global cooling canard.
  • Now that Britain has banned guns and knives, they’re taking aim at pub glasses. Yes, pub glasses. Stand by for their next announcement to remove people’s fists.
  • God help me. I do sometimes like Scalia.
  • I would definitely eat irradiate meat. In fact, I suspect that with my travel schedule, I am.
  • The overcrowding doomsayers are crawling out of the woodwork again. Ignore them (although I don’t know where Bailey is getting his Year 2100 projections).
  • Good on the Obama team for having low-level talks with Iran. It looks like concessions were made. We are fools to not consider talking to Iran, given the demographic firestorm that is soon to dislodge their leadership. More on Iran here, although I think Cole is a bit too glib and far far too generous in his reading of Iran’s actions.
  • I’ve been predicting for a while that terrorists would put bombs inside their bodies. Increasingly, we see that finding terrorists is important than finding weapons.
  • 6 Responses to “Aussie Linkorama”

    1. rpl says:

      Sigh. Don’t be a dick, Mike. There are some real problems with certain climate data sets, and in the case of the dendrochronology data the PIs worked so hard to prevent outside access to the raw data set that it’s hard to believe they didn’t know the data was flawed. Is that good scientific ethics in your book? It sure isn’t in mine.

      I don’t really expect these new findings to change the basic conclusion that we need to be a lot more careful about greenhouse gas emissions. However, the deeper I get into the climate game myself, the more apparent it becomes clear that when climate scientists speak outside of their own professional meetings (and especially when they speak to policy makers) they are less than candid about the limitations of their models and data. The prevailing attitude seems to be, “We know that human activities are causing climate change, so anything we say to convince policy makers to act is justified, even if not strictly supported by the data.”

      Some people think that it’s important to do this right. Labeling them as “deniers” or “denialists,” or whatever cutesy terms you want to come up with to suggest that they belong in the same box with people who claim that the Holocaust never happened, undermines the cause of science. It may get you what you want in terms of policy and funding in the short term, but that doesn’t make it right.

      As a postscript, the RealClimate article makes much of the fact that the dendrochronology data was “peer reviewed” (their quotes). Answer me this, Mike: just how valuable is peer review when the authors lied to the reviewers (and everyone else) about how the data were selected?

    2. Mike says:

      I don’t disagree with anything you say. But I’m being driven nuts by bogus anti-AGW arguments that are bombarding the debate. And *any* perceived flaw in the theory is trumpeted to the skies. I’m somewhat skeptical myself, but the sheer volume is aggravating.

      Maybe you’re right on the word “denial” but that’s increasingly what it sounds like. When all else fails, critics resort to saying it’s a conspiracy to seize power and make scientists rich. They refuse to accede to even the most basic arguments. That global cooling bullshit is thrown around constantly. It’s increasingly like debating creationists.

    3. rpl says:

      So, you’re saying that because the political debate on climate change gets out of control sometimes, we should give a pass to shoddy science? What if there is over-the-top rhetoric and shoddy science on both sides (which I would argue there is)? Then how do we choose who to give a pass to?

      While we’re on the subject, legitimate scientists who express doubts about the case for anthropogenic global warming (AGW) are often savaged in the popular press by proponents of AGW. There are cases of grants for research unrelated to AGW being pulled after the PI expresses skepticism on AGW, cases of conference invitations being retracted, and so on. Do you think this is an appropriate way to conduct scientific inquiry? If not, do you have a pejorative name for the people who practice those kinds of smear campaigns? If not, then why not?

      I reiterate, the dendrochronology data in question was seriously flawed, and flawed in a way that should at least raise suspicions of outright fraud at that. The PIs on that study actively covered up the flaws in their data for years. Is that newsworthy or not?

      I’ll lay all my cards on the table. If I might borrow a few pieces of legal jargon, I consider the case that human CO2 emissions to be supported at a sort of “preponderance of the evidence” level. I consider the projections of future temperature increases to be less well supported. Cal it “reasonable suspicion,” or maybe “probably cause” on a good day. If I’m reading you correctly, then that makes me a “denier” in your book. By all means, wise one, enlighten me with some of these “most basic arguments” that you think I should be convinced by.

    4. Mike says:

      “If not, do you have a pejorative name for the people who practice those kinds of smear campaigns?”

      Yes I do. I frequently call the doom-mongers over the other site. And I’ve often called out people who claims that AGW-skeptics are in the pay of Big Oil. Algore, in particular, wants to crush any dissent and claims the scientific debate is over. The scientific debate is never over.

      “If I’m reading you correctly, then that makes me a “denier” in your book.”

      No, it puts us on the same page. I’m also persuaded that AGW is real but think the long term projections are extremely suspect. I have many times bashed Algore and Jame Hansen for the reckless and irresponsible doomsaying. The tack I prefer is that, since this is a potential danger and we know we will run out of fossil fuels soon, we should take reasonable steps. To me, that means a carbon tax and heavier R&D funding.

      “Denier” is very specific. it’s to people who are not raising important questions (and perhaps I did unfairly rope the dendrochronology critics in). They are sticking their fingers in their ears and saying “No! No! No! No!” I’m not referring to scientists, but to political commentators who frequently and viciously distort the science, quote-mine for skepticism, ignore any evidence supporting AGW and quote each other as though they are experts. These are people who tell me it’s arrogant to assume mankind can hurt the Earth, who snipe that weathermen can’t predict next week’s weather, who tell me that God has made the Earth perfectly.

      I probably was unfair to this particular criticism — I intended to direct it more to the people proclaiming that this “proves” AGW is a fraud. Here is a better example of what I’m talking about: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khikoh3sJg8&feature=player_embedded

    5. Mike says:

      I’ve drawn flack for using “denier” on the other site, so I think I’ll just retire the term since, as you note, it’s needlessly pejorative and I end up arguing semantics rather than policy.

    6. rpl says:

      Fair enough. It sounds like we may not be so far apart on this after all.