Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Politics of Science of Climate Change

Many moons ago, my (ex)buddy, Richard posted a FOX “News” article about a Nobel prize-winner coming out against climate change.

I didn’t come cross this post until later, after the discussion was well underway, which is fine because I only had one little, eensy-weensy, teensy-tiny thing to say on the matter – to which nobody posted anything in reply. That disappointed me, but oh well. Sometimes, people just ignore me for some reason. 

Names changed to protect the stupid and otherwise.


I don't know why people even bother to question this stuff any more. More and more data shows that while the Earth may have warmed up 0.74 degrees over a 150-year period, that it is historically insignificant with what the weather and temps have done over millions of years before man was even on the scene.

Global Warming and Climate Change are political issues, not scientific ones...

I don’t fully understand the hate toward people who believe in global warming and that it is man made. Isn’t it a good thing to find new alternative means for energy? Isn’t that good for businesses (creates new industries) isn’t it good for the US (gets us away from foreign oil) and isn’t it good for humanity (allows us to not use up a finite resource)?

I do however think all this needs to be done with some objective level headedness. Using corn in our oil is dumb, hybrids are a step in the right direction but they need to figure out better ways to make/dispose of the batteries. Solar, Wind, ocean power is where it is at. Oh btw, let’s take away all the oil company subsidies to save some cash or put them into alternative industries like solar and wind. Wouldn’t it be nice to have panels on every home/business in the country and not need to burn as much coal or build another plant?

just my 2cents [A lonely 2 cents ‘round these parts.]
The biggest problem with all this "global warming" crap is that we only know 0.000000434782% of the earth's weather history. [I wonder if that number’s accurate?] Out of all the years the earth has been around, that's all the recorded weather we have. Show me one experiment in the world that would validate itself with that much data? [There are none. Not even when you invent fake statistics to support your uneducated statement.] We have NO CLUE what the weather patterns should be. [YOU may not, but that’s no excuse to deny that science does.] So how can we say that less than 1 degree in warming is caused by a plastic shopping bag and some cars? [Because science.]

Politicians using things to get attention. Sounds a lot like how religion works too. [Yeah, Slappy, science is just like religion. In that they are complete opposites.]

Fox News casting doubt on science? I can't believe it! Funny how Fox will portray left-leaning scholars and academics as nerds and pinheads, yet when ONE scientist has a semantic argument with a society made up of hundreds of his peers, well, he MUST be right! [Can’t argue with that.]

George, there's no slant to Fox's reporting of this event, and it's far more than a semantic objection that caused him to quit! [I’m laughing on the inside.]

Look how he points out how minor and inconsequential the actual temperature change is! [It is a small change, yet not minor and the consequences are already being experienced. For example, the ‘once in 100 year’ storms are now hitting ‘once in 1 or 2 years.’]

The main point, however, is the religious and dogmatic approach the Left has taken to these issues: He left because he was not allowed to question the status quo. Really? [No, not really. He quit because science and math trumped his bullshit and he’s an old, old angry man who is not a climate scientist, yet stuck in his misinformed beliefs that are not based on climate science.] If that had been the case universally we'd all still be stuck with Newtonian physics! [We still are!] But as Richard says above, this has become a political issue, with the Left bashing Western society, and the actual science just isn't important to them. [“…the Left bashing Western society…” Yes, moron, liberals hate America. Actual science isn’t important to who now…?]

Sonny, if you had written the exact opposite of what you actually wrote, I'd agree with you 100%. He did not leave because he "was not allowed" to question the status quo, but because he disagreed with it. It was his choice. He resigned. He was not forced out in any way, and I'm sure he'll go on to a very lucrative career working for BP or Exxon Mobil.

You're assertion that the actual science isn't important to the left is about the funniest, most backward thing I've heard all day. Creationism, anyone? [Nice to know there are other rational people out there.]

He was not allowed to disagree with it in the sense that it was considered politically unacceptable to do so, George; anyone can see that. [I can’t.] He couldn't stand the fact that political correctness required false statements to be made. [Oh, now it’s political correctness’s fault, is it? Not just religious Liberals, semantics and Western society-hating Liberals. Anything else you want to throw at the wall to see if it sticks?]

Actually, I liken the climate change folk to creationists: [This is so ignorant, it’s actually beautiful…] You people have decided, politically, not based on good science, that man has caused  massive  climate  change  and we're all going to die because Western males are bad people ™. Since a great many scientists have pointed out that the research (let's be generous) that led to this position is flawed (you know, like the Nobel-prize winning physicist this article is about?), it is, at best, far too early to take such a strong political stand, and, at worst, criminal to do so. Thus, it is *clear* that the Left is far more concerned with dogma than they are with fact, and thus, they are just like the idiot creationists.

In fact, I think the parallels between the religious nuts and the Left are as obvious as they are egregious: Both want to force others to live by the code of behavior they imagine (with no basis in fact) to be best, and are willing to use force and political pressure to achieve that end. That the specific goals are different is really immaterial--it's the method that's horrifying.

[It's amazing how he describes the way the Democratic Party works. “Not based on good science” is how the left operates? The left denies science? This is some Bizarro World shit. The right muddies the science to protect corporate profits, the lemmings repeat it as if fact, then claim the left hates science. Christ on a cracker. I told you it was beautifully ignorant.]

I'll prove my point, George: Dr. Giaever was one of over 1,000 scientists who argued that man-made global warming was a myth:

[I explain this right-wing extremist, climate-denying “report” at the end in my post.]

So I am on the side of a large body of real scientists (read the article, Giaever was not the only Nobel Laureate--these weren't just crackpots) who doubt the claims of the political majority, yet for pointing this out, for agreeing with a world-class physicist [But not climate scientist.] who said that: "I am a skeptic...Global warming has become a new religion." you would attempt to compare me with a mere creationist? What better proof could I ask for that you and your leftist ilk care far more about your dogma than you do about science.

[Mike explains the “report” pretty well.]

That Climate Depot report is a list of names and quotes... and includes the previous three "reports", to make this list of names and quotes appear longer...this is not a report. There is no content, no context, and no reference to source material or data. This won't, and shouldn't, be taken seriously by anyone affiliated with any governmental agency or scientific community. Honestly, I wonder how many of these "scientists" consented to be included in this list - I'd be ashamed to be associated with someone trying to pass off this document as a credible attempt at dissent.

Interestingly, I tried to do a “who is” search on Climate Depot, and guess what? They registered through godaddy, a proxy registrar that exists pretty much for the purpose of domain owners to hide their identities. What might they be hiding from? Even more interesting...The address they use, 15111 N. Hayden Rd., Ste 160, PMB 353 Scottsdale, AZ is used on a TON of different websites...Most registered on the same date, and many caught up in some kind of SEC investigation for scamming their customers. I'll let ya google it yourself.

Feel free to post accusing me of attacking the messenger for not liking (read: disagreeing) with the message. [Nice.]

Actually, George, I needn't accuse you of that--it's obvious from your post. [Yeah, George, obviously, by posting facts that disagree with the things he made up, it is you who is biased.] Whether the source is biased or not, the facts that they present about scientists coming out against the anthropological causation of global warming and its extent are undeniable. [In other words, “As long as biased misinformation supports what I say, it should be taken seriously.”] The fact remains that many scientists do not accept Leftist dogma on this issue, and therefore I am hardly on par with creationists for taking the side of reputable scientists when the facts I've studied support it more strongly than do the arguments of the other side. [Of note: his haphazard use of the word “fact” and his phrase “the facts I’ve studied.” Which “facts” has he studied? Does he know what “study” even means?]

Thus, my point that the politics of this issue are more important to leftists is well proven: They argue that it is wrong to debate this subject--we're supposed to take it as proven--even though top scientists disagree on the issues. If the science was more important, the leftitst would say that the issue remains undecided and people should not be considered "bad white men" ™ for arguing against it.

[Just claiming that something is proven is all a Republican needs as evidence of “proof.” As opposed to something actually being proven. Bias doesn’t matter when you agree with it, apparently. And facts that are twisted to conform to your ill-informed opinion (rendering them false) are still considered facts.]

[Also, he keeps trademarking his comments that refer to white men as being bad. I don’t know what deluded lunacy that stems from.]

[Also, he keeps using the word “thus” as if it lends authority to his crazed utterings.]

Shouldn’t we all put the politics and bullshit aside and just work toward greener solutions just in case? I mean isn’t it worth it to err on the safer side here?

[Get a load of this…]

Not necessarily, Scott: If the solutions being presented are really intended for something other than their avowed purpose (e.g., to harm the wealthier nations as part of a world-wide wealth redistribution philosophy), or if they are expensive and yet unnecessary, then no, erring on the side of the left is not better.

[I would like you to watch this counter-argument to Sonny’s counter-argument to not erring on the side of caution:

And now back to your regularly scheduled conspiracy theory…]

The point is that the Left is basing their arguments largely on politics because they want to use this issue to further their political agenda. Thus, we can't just set politics aside, since that is the issue at this point.

[World-wide wealth redistribution philosophy? How the fuck does that work? And again, claiming the left is basing their arguments on politics instead of science is factually what the right is doing.]

Why do you think there is some agenda to take wealth out of American hands and put it in third world nations? That seems silly. I think the agenda on the far right is to keep money in the pockets of oil and coal companies instead of researching alternative fuels for the betterment of mankind.

Because that's what the left says it wants to do. [He means, “Because that’s what the right-wing media tells me the left says it wants to do.” Bit of a difference there.]

And money in the hands of oil and coal companies trickles down into our hands to make us all wealthier. [In which alternate reality does that happen, again?] And so far, no one has given any indication of any better fuels, nor the potential for same. [Fuck the planet! Electric cars only go 80 mph instead of 120 at a fraction the cost of oil.] The best alternative we have is nuclear, and the left plus a bunch of ignorant peasants who have been scare-mongered into believing anti-nuclear propaganda won't let us exploit that. [Wow. A truthitude.] When someone develops a better fuel source he'll get rich (and we'll all profit) [No, we all won’t. That’s redistribution of wealth.] because such a thing would be too good to pass up. In the meantime, however, we have to learn from what we have already seen--the so-called green energies just haven't panned out. Look at the failure of gasahol, which at first everyone swore was the new thing. [No one is ever allowed to make mistakes and learn from them. Right, laser disc? Right, whale-oil lamps? Right, steam-powered velocipede?]

The only reason green energies haven't panned out is because there's been no meaningful investment in them. I'm still waiting for my cut of Exxon-Mobils 80 billion dollar a quarter profits to "trickle down" to me. How long should I hold my breath?

[Actually, the Department of Energy has invested about $90 billion to 63 green projects under low-interest loan programs. Only 5 of them have filed for bankruptcy. That’s a total of 8% of the entire government’s green program investments that failed. I do enjoy the right-wing’s Solyndra conspiracy theory.]

You should hold your breath until the left stops hindering big business, causing them to horde money in tax shelters, and starts putting it to work. When the money flows, you get your economic boon. [Have an excuse that blames liberals for everything, don’t you? We all profit from trickle-down economics except we never do because of Liberals. Liberals who enabled the corporate world to have the highest profits ever in the recorded history of profits. Which nobody else benefited from. Capitalism is about sharing the wealth? Sharing the wealth is evil Socialist Liberal-talk, but Capitalist trickle-down wealth-sharing is ok even though that’s the opposite of Capitalism? Capitalist socialism? Socialcapitalism? Socapitalistism? What the fuck goes on in these whack-job heads?]

Sonny, you’re hilarious! Have a great day.

Well, then I'm a double threat, since I'm also correct!

If parroting talking points is correct, then yes.

[Speaking of ‘parroting talking points:’ FINALLY! Richard posts for the first time since his original post.]

Steve, the weather is warmer than it was 150 years ago, by less than a degree.

Yet it is far cooler than many periods in history, and far warmer than the ice ages. The point is that the earth's temperature has gone up and down, far more than the 3/4 degree we are talking about, many times, too many to count, etc... The range is huge, the number of times it has happened is immense, and the pattern is not a static figure.

That's the problem I always had with it. We started tracking weather, accurately, at best for 150 years. [Maybe your best, not science’s best.] Compared to a planet that has been here 4.5 billion years, that is what?

It's faster than you can blink your eye. [Technically, it’s not.]

So to glean any sort of pattern or prediction from that, and look at a 0.74 degree shift over a century and a half, knowing that the temps have been many degrees hotter, and the entire globe has had vast ice ages, I just don't see where we can say "Man is at fault, and we can fix it by paying carbon taxes and buying these new products"....

It's bullshit, anyone can see that. [Except for scientists. They can’t see that. You should go down to the local World Government Scientist Free Money Conspiracy Organization Headquarters and tell them the truth.]

And when scientists [on an Oil/Gas/Coal payroll that are told to muddy real science to protect their boss's corporate profits] point this out, that the science is flawed, or that things are overlooked in the quest to prove whatever assumption that the person writing the grant check wants to prove so that they can hand it to their lobbyist and take to Washington, they get ridiculed and attacked. [Richard seems to be switching how grant money scientists and payroll scientists work.]

All we know, is that the earth is 0.74 degrees warmer than it was 150 years ago. [He’s confusing what all he knows with what all science knows.] We also know that it has been a lot warmer before man was ever a factor, and it has been much colder, half the globe being under hundreds of feet of ice. Hell, Antarctica has shitloads of fossils of tropical plants and animals. The surface of the globe itself has changed, drastically.

The people trying to convince you that even though the earth's temp has gone up and down for millions of years, that this time the tiny change is from man, is trying to sell you something, with "science" that he paid for.

I'm sure that, as militant republicans, the only reason that you are bandying this about is to attack "job killing regulation" which has been brought about by “moronic democratic legislators” to stop what can only be described as inevitable. Why not simply take the position that the damage has been done and propose positive changes, with predictive outcomes. That would actually help, it would be meaningful, it would sway people who would ordinarily be dismissive into listening. It would consolidate power to your cause. [Nooo! Logic-talk!]

Because the science is not definitive with regards to all the damage you mention, for one thing, [Ignoring that it is.] and for another, because if there are issues to be addressed, we have to understand the "why" of those issues so that we can address them correctly--or not act at all, if that's what's best. [Um. We do understand the “why.” Simply ignoring the “why” does not make it go away.] Moreover, it's important to stop the forces who want to pervert science into a political tool, exactly as the Soviets did when they claimed that history was a science that could be calculated and that it proved communism was the only valid form of government. Just go read debates on this topic: Leftists act as if these issues were holy writ, and that anyone who disagrees is, by definition, evil and can be abused at will.

[Liberals deny science because the Soviets claimed history is science? Is he saying science is communism? It’s difficult to follow rambling Glenn Beckian chalkboard theories. ]

Science is science, facts are facts. You can try to interpret them in different ways, but the reason I love science so much is that it works. If some new evidence is presented then science in majority shifts to adapt to the new evidence. I am not so naive to think that this hasn't been politicized.

@Sonny, so what's your stance other than the left is a bunch of anti-American commies? [Does he really need another reason?] Is the planet warming? Do you think we need to be concerned? Is it ALL a hoax (perpetrated by the majority of scientists today?) or is it just the part about the warming being man-made that you disagree with?

Scott, I already answered that question--quite well, too--in the thread for your cartoon.

Yup, didn't see it.

[And now, my closing statement…]

The Brain Frees
I just have one little thing to say and then I'm signing off, because I know deniers will still deny no matter the facts.

So, pumping over 9 billion metric tons (near zero in the year 1800) of unnaturally occurring, completely man-made carbon emissions into the atmosphere every year (and growing) is having no effect on the Earth? All science debating aside, shouldn't this fall under the "common sense" category?

Sonny, this overwhelming acceptance of conspiracy theories which enables you to proclaim scientific facts are not facts and that the fabricated information from blatantly biased sources are the real facts is simply amazing.

Somehow, 98% of climate scientists in the world agreeing that man is influencing the climate is false to you. But a Nobel-winning physicist who is not qualified to comment on climate science any more than you or I is who you believe because he backs up your biased opinion. Well, him and the other 2% equals your "many scientists coming out against global warming."

Do you also have "proof" that Obama was not born in America?
Do you also have "proof" that aliens landed in Roswell?
Do you also have "proof" that Bush blew up the Twin Towers and Mississippi dams with bombs?
Do you also have "proof" that Johnson, Castro, the Mafia and the Russians conspired to kill Kennedy?
Do you also have "proof" that Clinton and Bush assassinated any associates who got in the way of their careers?
Do you also have "proof" that Oprah Winfrey is the anti-Christ?
Do you also have "proof" that contrails behind aircraft are really chemicals being sprayed for some unknown nefarious government purpose?

Because "proof" of all of these things also exists.

And seriously, the whole comparing of people who don't agree with you to Soviets and communism and whatever other unrelated bogeyman is sophomoric. The Glenn Beck school of arguing your point is moronic.

Richard, you keep proclaiming scientists get their grant money from people who want a specific outcome attached to their findings. You have a fundamental misunderstanding of how grants and scientists work. Well, what's more probable is that you don't care about the truth and are just saying whatever you can think of to support your false assertions. Or Rush told you to think it.

It's the scientists on oil and coal and gas corporations' payrolls who are paid to lie and protect their boss's profits by proclaiming the burning of fossil fuels has no effect on the atmosphere. Real scientists, now they have to have reproducible conclusions and results to protect their reputations. That is how they get grant money to continue their research. Scientists certainly didn’t enter the field to become rich. That is generally not the pursuit of nerdy science people. However, politicians also take donations from organizations like big oil and gas to spread lies. That’s how they stay in office. Politicians specifically get into politics to become rich. And occasionally help people as long as it doesn't interfere with their own expanding prosperity. Mostly, the only “scientists” that deny man-influenced climate change are on Exxon & BP’s payroll. And it is their false, money-influenced lies that you and all science-deniers repeat.

You also proclaim that we only know about the last 150 years of weather. Your biased right-wing "information" sources are not taking into consideration rock, soil, ice and stalagmite (60,000 years, in some cases) core samples, animal remains, tree rings, etc. All of these scientific techniques tell us specifically about the carbon amounts and a multitude of other information on Earth for thousands and thousands of years. And since we know when the industrial revolution began, we know exactly when man began adding massive amounts of unnaturally occurring carbon into the atmosphere. The increased levels, according to science, have not risen in accordance to normal levels since then.

And to keep proclaiming that climate change is only about rising temperatures and using the incorrect term, “global warming” to make your false, biased case, is also a fundamental misunderstanding of what climate is. It is about generally cool places being warmer, generally warm places being cooler, generally wet places being drier and generally dry places being wetter, causing massive climate discrepancies like fires, floods, hurricanes and tropical storms – the likes of which are occurring increasingly more frequently than normal. But then, you'd have to accept science to understand that.

And as for the FOX "News" article that started this thread -

It is an inflated right-wing, science-denying point of view, FOX "News" article about a pissy 82-year-old Nobel-winning mechanical engineer - not a climate scientist - who cried like a little girl and quit a physics society because 98% of climate scientists are in agreement that climate change is real. Somehow, I think climate science - of which he knows no more than any layman - has progressed a little since he graduated University in 1952.

And since when does FOX "News" think some hippie liberal scientist knows what he's talking about? FOX "News" hates science. Oh, when he agrees with their biased right-wing talking points. Even if he's not qualified to speak on the subject because he's a different kind of scientist. But hey, any port in a storm, right? What’s next, getting a brain surgeon’s opinion on the theory of relativity?

Then there are several links to other biased right-wing, fact-free, science-denying articles like ClimateDepot. It's OK for climate-change deniers to post links to sites with specifically anti-science, anti-climate change biased agendas, but anyone who posts a link to something else is stupid? Hypocrite much?

Then there's a bunch of right-wing Rasmussen polls asking people if they think scientists are telling the truth. What do conservatives who believe what FOX "News" tells them to think about scientists have to do with the facts scientists are discovering?

The FOX "News" article is devoid of any facts. It's just a bunch of biased, right-wing, climate science-denying conjecture and useless opinions.

And you said climate change is a political issue, not a scientific one. What you neglected to point out is that climate change is a political issue only to Republican politicians protecting their donations from oil and gas companies and not a scientific one because Republicans also hate science. It is however, a science issue to everyone else on the planet.

And for a guy who claims to never watch FOX "News," you sure do post a lot of their articles on Facebook.

Before I sign off... I'm not sure if any of you conspiracy theorist believers got any of your information from that "Climategate" e-mail hacking scandal a few years ago that released a bunch of climate scientists' e-mails to the public that supposedly "proved" the scientists were lying about the data and FOX “News” touted every single day as fact. But six committees - the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, Independent Climate Change Review, International Science Assessment Panel, Pennsylvania State University, US Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Commerce all investigated the allegations and published reports, finding no evidence of fraud or scientific misconduct. It was determined to be an orchestrated attack to de-legitimize the science just before the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit was to take place. Not strange that there are also Rupert Murdoch phone and email hacking accomplices linked to the climate hacking. But the debunking of this lie was barely covered - and not covered at all by right-wing media just so the ignorant people who believe climate change is fake can keep being ignorant of facts.

*****  **  ******  **  *****

My ongoing battle against enthusiastic ignorance can sometimes be very draining.

I later found this article explaining tree ring science. It backed up what I said about tree rings.

The Earth Story on Facebook


Most of us know that by counting the rings inside cross-cuttings of trees, we can obtain an age for a tree. However, the childhood practice of counting rings is just the start. Dendrochronology and its sub-varieties have garnered a great deal of respect in the scientific community for going above and beyond simply looking at age. Dendrochronology is the all-encompassing term for the study of tree rings and their structure to interpret information of historical events and processes, but is now accompanied by many branches (ba-dum-tsh!) like dendroclimatology, dendroarchaeology, dendrovolcanology, dendrochemistry, dendrogeomorphology, and the list goes on! It’s all from those itty bitty rings we used to count as children. As of now, dendrochronology gives us an unbroken tree-ring record of 11,000 years into the past, so the “dendro” sciences are certainly a force to be respected!

A lot of the basis for dendro studies comes from the idea that ideal growing conditions for the tree will produce a larger ring (by width), and poor conditions will produce a smaller ring. The same principle applies to farm crops. The crops need water, nutrients, sun, and the right temperatures. When you’ve got the right combination, your crops grow larger, but when you don’t, they suffer. Trees essentially lock in information about that growing seasons’ microclimate conditions when they produce a ring. Trees begin forming any given years’ ring at the start of the growing season, and as temperatures drop and the growing season comes to an end, we get a visible ring where the following year will commence growth.

Trees are fairly accurate as estimates of former climate as well as nutrient levels in soil, but are still tricky to read. Some trees may present false rings, where perhaps some large storm or disturbance event happened late in the growing season, but the tree continued to grow a bit after the event happened. Many trees in a similar situation will show a false ring at the point in time where the event occurred as if the tree is saying “just kidding! Not done growing yet.”

Although it is a difficult (and sometimes tedious) pursuit, the study of tree-rings has certainly earned its spot on the scientific global stage, and continues to astound scientists and amateurs alike!


Compton's Pictured Encyclopedia and Fact Index (1947)

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