The Greens Won’t Play Nice, Part 2

5 03 2008

Once again, I attempt to have a respectful, informative discussion with denizens of a green website regarding my concerns with the theory of AGW.  

Once again, they call me a giant poopy-pants. 

Sigh.

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DeSmog on the Ground for Denial-a-palooza

2 Mar 08 DeSmogBlog has hit New York City for the Heartland Institute’s climate change denial-a-palooza to mingle with the conspiracy theorists, industry parrots, puzzle-makers, scientists for hire and those who just can’t let go of their flat-earth ways. First stop registration, where I received a big bag of think tank propaganda, including a copy of Fred Singer’s book Unstoppable Global Warming, a John Christy DVD produced by the Center for the American Experiment and a recording of Christopher Monckton’s lecture, Apocalypse? No. And what conference grab bag wouldn’t be complete without a copy of the “Summary for Policymakers: Non-governmental International Panel on Climate Change,” produced by Fred Singer’s Science and Environmental Policy Project. Singer’s report opines:

We regret that many advocates in the debate have chosen to give up debating science and now focus almost exclusively on questioning the motives of ‘skeptics,’ name calling and ad hominem attacks. We view this as a sign of desperation on their part, and a sign that the debate has shifted towards climate realism.”

Desperation? More like exasperation. Maybe tomorrow I’ll find out what science Singer is referring to. As far as ad hominem, I’ll assume he’s referring to sites like DeSmogBlog that regularly and rightly point out the industry interests that promote the views of Singer and many of the others who will present at this conference – the most prolific being oil-giant ExxonMobil, who a little birdie told me isn’t touching this conference with a 60-foot pole. Stay tuned.

» by Kevin Grandia | more from Kevin Grandia | add new comment 

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Greetings,

I’ve read your first post above, and you appear to be using the tactic of delegitimizing the presenters, rather than addressing their forthcoming arguments, as a means to debunk them.

How is it you find this to be a necessary, or effective, tactic? As the conference will be releasing transcripts and its topics of discussion, you should instead be focused on addressing the coming information.  

Statistics and studies are independently verifiable — how about taking the role of peer reviewer? I would be happy to discuss the conference releases with you,
starting with this one:

http://www.sepp.org/publications/NIPCC-Feb%2020.pdf

Best,
David

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Been There, Done That

The reference to Friis-Christensen and Lassen (1991) is an obvious act of out-of-context quoting:
http://folk.uio.no/nathan/web/statement.html

And I see that Douglass et al. (2007)’s bogus paper and bogus graph is quoted:
http://tinyurl.com/yntbat
Nothing new there except the same old denialist junk.

I wonder, now that I’ve taken “the role of peer reviewer” as advised by Posthumous Luger, whether he’ll actually honour this effort at peer review? Or will he instead throw a hissy fit and start sending out coded messages on Galileo?
Frank Bi,

http://tinyurl.com/2f63xd»

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Submitted by FEMACK on Mon, 2008-03-03 09:35.

If the presenters have anything new to say, by all means let’s have a look at it & see how it holds up. But this crowd has been singing the same tune for quite awhile now, and none of their previous arguments has stood the test of scrutiny. It may seem like a tactic to you, to be “delegitimizing the presenters,” but I like to know where the information is coming from, and whether it is likely to be biased. It is also of interest to me to know whether a person has a track record in climate science and is actively involved in current research.

As for your suggestion about taking the role of peer reviewer, my academic peers are historians, not climate scientists. Peer review of climate science can only be carried out by climate scientists whose scholarship and research qualifies them to do so — not by PR people, reporters, hockey players, retail managers, lawyers, dentists, English Lit teachers, etc etc etc. Despite all the amateur number-crunching that goes on in these posts, only a few of us are really capable of a meaningful analysis of the statistics.

Fern Mackenzie 

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Submitted by Posthumous Luger (not verified) on Mon, 2008-03-03 10:28.

Thanks for the reply, Ms. Mackenzie.

My thoughts exactly — if the presenters have anything new to say, by all means let’s have a look at it. I’ll be happy to discuss anything that arises from the conference.

The problem with attacks on the presenters and the funding is that, logically, it means absolutely nothing.

If you present evidence supporting the theory of anthropogenic global warming, should I discount it I find the study was funded by DeSmogBlog? Of course not. I should examine the data and the study on its own merits.

Nike has quite a financial stake in convincing us that Tiger Woods is the greatest golfer in history — should I discount the message? Or should I examine Woods’ record?

Perhaps we have no business conducting climate study, but everyone who wishes to offer their two cents regarding the results of others has the responsibility of due diligence. Dismissing the conference outright, and then claiming that one is not qualified to comment, is a cop-out. As is praising the conference and then recusing one’s self.

Would anyone like to comment on the release?

Best,
David

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Peer Review vs. Informed Opinion 

Submitted by FEMACK on Mon, 2008-03-03 10:59.

I am not suggesting that we have no business commenting on the science, but part of informing ourselves is developing the critical skills to recognize who has credibility and who does not. I wouldn’t presume to tell Mann et al how to construct a modelling algorithm, but I know that their work has the respect of their peers, and has been confirmed by other qualified researchers — so I will consider their results accordingly. Likewise, I will take the assessment of other climate scientists of their work over the critiques of MacIntyre & that other fellow.

As far as dismissing the conference out of hand, it’s very difficult to take it seriously, given that the list of presenters is a who’s who of the same old crowd that has been touring with the same old arguments for years. I haven’t heard anything new out of them for years, so I hope you will forgive me if I am sceptical that the present conference will feature any scathingly brilliant new information.

I’ll have a look at the release when I have more than a few minutes to spare. Will get back to you later.

Fern Mackenzie

Submitted by FEMACK on Mon, 2008-03-03 13:53.

Well, David, I have taken a stroll through Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate by S. Fred Singer. I am sorry to say that it’s the same material he’s been trotting out at every opportunity for ages — nothing there that hasn’t been picked apart (very convincingly) by the folks at RealClimate.org and others over the years. I am amazed that Singer still drags the “hockey stick” into the discussion. He just can’t let go of it, as though the entire case for AGW rests on that graph alone! The so-called “failings” of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report have all been addressed and dismissed. The solar effect has been repeatedly and soundly ruled out as an explanation for current warming. . . and so on.

My best suggestion is to go to realclimate.org and search out each of Singer’s points. An alternative is this site: http://environment.newscientist.com/channel/earth/dn11462.

Fern Mackenzie

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Submitted by Posthumous Luger (not verified) on Tue, 2008-03-04 09:01.

Thank you for your comment.

You are speaking rather broadly, I would like to focus on the one specific you bring up. Which studies do you claim have repeatedly and soundly ruled out the solar effect?
I am familiar only with the Lockwood/Froelich study, could you offer some other links?

Best,
David

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Submitted by FEMACK on Tue, 2008-03-04 09:59.

Les Chevaliers de l’Ordre de la Terre Plate, Part II: Courtillot’s Geomagnetic Excursion (Prelude: It’s the physics, stupid) by Raymond T. Pierrehumbert appeared at RealClimate.org 18 December 2007 (http://tinyurl.com/3cwouz). It is clear, thorough, and up-to-date. If you search “solar forcing” on that site, you will find links to other articles, all of them scholarly in annotation, which is how I tracked down the research papers and other sources that I have read on the subject. Good luck, & have fun.

As for my response above being “very broad,” that’s because to get into the specifics of everything I find insupportable about Singer’s paper would take all day, and I would probably exceed DeSmog’s text limit. Furthermore, it would be redundant for me to do so, as his arguments are all the same old talking points with a new release date tacked on the front for show. Asked & answered. Let’s move on, shall we?

Experience warns that often what appear to be sincere attempts by someone new to the discussion to initiate a dialogue turn out to be a more sophisticated approach to trolling. The goal: to waste people’s time in a useless attempt to inform a neophyte. Giving you the benefit of the doubt, I suggest you spend some time exploring RealClimate. Do the reading. Then we’ll talk some more.

Fern Mackenzie

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Submitted by Posthumous Luger (not verified) on Tue, 2008-03-04 14:10.

Thank you for your comment.

I am not entirely aware of your definition of “troll”, though I am thrilled that, if I am such a thing, I qualify to be one of the more “sophisticated” of the bunch. So thank you! I did watch America‘s Top Model last night, although I was sipping a beaujolais at the time, so I firmly believe I am on the path towards leaving the riff raff behind. My mother will be beaming.

I am interested in having a detailed discussion of information related to AGW, without rhetoric, attitude, or condescension. And without being accused of wasting time or being nudged to “move on”. Am I in the wrong place? There’s always a time and a place for pithy comments (guilty as charged, above), so no judgments if I am. Just thought the site that promises to “clear the PR pollution” would be a good place for a respectful chat.

Best,
David

 http://www.desmogblog.com/desmog-on-the-ground-for-denial-a-palooza#comment

(See my previous thread on Treehugger  https://posthumousluger.wordpress.com/2008/02/03/hello-world/)  





Replying to Rage at the University of Oregon

8 02 2008

On February 7th, the Daily Emerald (independent student newspaper at the University of Oregon) ran the column “If you go to war only when you have to, it will be too late” by student columnist Deborah Bloom. The column reads as a relatively polite, though not terribly strong, statement of support for the Iraq war. A sample quote:

I think the imposition of democracy is necessary because our ideology, while not infallible, realizes the need for equality and recognizes the immorality of a murderous and aggressive military dictatorship.”

Sounds like a young, budding, political scientist. Comments? Let’s see…

Are you on drugs? Do you need a good fuck up the wazoo?”

“Go back to grazing with the other sheepocons, we Americans will get to fixing the problems your kind causes.”

“People like Deb’s parents graze off the misery, suffering and taxes of the American People, and get rich doing it. She is one evil bitch. Heh Deb, are you up for some waterboarding?”

Thanks for the contributions! Especially the threat of anal rape. My comments:

“Tim,

Democracy is not better for everbody? That sounds like you reject the concept of universal human rights, which formerly was considered a bulwark of the left.
You recommend Deborah take a class on Islam — I would gladly go through the Koran, Sira, and Hadith with you and Deborah, line by line. You may choose the translation we use.

Best,
David ”

And:

“Deborah,

Congratulations for thinking for yourself among what appears to be a rather vicious, uncompromising crowd with little interest in dialogue. I suggest calmly replying to those who treat you respectfully, and ignoring the others.

Best,
David”

I’ve already been referred to as being “evil to the core.”

 http://www.dailyemerald.com/home/index.cfm?event=displayArticleComments&ustory_id=b4266ac5-467e-4e9d-83cd-58a00a387c1b





The Treehugger Project

3 02 2008

Essentially, I asked of commenters on Treehugger.com: “What are we talking about when we talk about Global Warming?” On what evidence did you, personally, formulate your opinion?

I fail to see how a person involved in a movement would be averse to speaking about the movement’s — or his or her own — foundation, and I fail to see how my question could be construed as being anything other than a constructive exercise. Either you present the information, an act which directly contributes to your cause, or you realize that you are unable to identify it — “there’s no there there” — and you are aware, objectively, that you have not done enough homework to be an advocate. This is also, generally, a positive development for everyone involved.

Read the thread. I believe its fair to conclude that the majority of posters do not ascribe their beliefs in AGW to anything we can actually print out and discuss. Or, if they can, they haven’t actually read the documents themselves.

This is only a conclusion relating to people who post on Treehugger, and doesn’t bear any weight regarding the strength of anyone else’s arguments.  But I think you will agree its not nothing:

 http://forums.treehugger.com/viewtopic.php?t=2343