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November 30, 2009

Ain't Science Wonderful!

Donald Pittenger writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Charlton Griffin has been passing along links to "Climategate," as some call it. That's the impact of the appearance of emails from a major climate research center in England indicating that climate researchers were trying to silence opposition to "global warming" and perhaps fudging data used by policymakers.

The situation has been evolving so rapidly that I'll pass over links Charlton sent a few days ago to feature this article from The Times (London). It deals with the fact that the research unit destroyed primary climate data, saving only data that had been processed in one form or another. So, unless other sites have copies of the original data, conscientious scientists cannot perform the necessary task of checking the "findings" of the East Anglia organization.

I do not know whether or not "global warming" is real, but I've had strong doubts for years that we've departed from normal patterns of temperature swings. Moreover, the business about the warming being "settled science" has driven me to long rants (as my long-suffering wife can tell you) about the inherently tentative nature of scientific findings.

I suppose there are others who are more into this and have documentation available, but for years there has been a consistent effort by the pro-warming crowd that dissenters were the equivalent of "flat-earthers" and attention to them should not be paid. This is not science. It is a religion trying to purge heretics. (Hmm. How many stake-burnings will it take to raise world temperatures 0.1 degrees Centigrade?)

The fact is, government and academic climate researchers need grants and glory, and the best way to keep all that flowing is to juice up the panic levels. They're human after all.

And so is Al Gore: Nobelist, fat and happy, profligate consumer of energy (think huge house, huge houseboat and jet trips everywhere to soak up the cash and adulation of the pious).

I'm pleased the sordid truth about the warming movement is finally coming out.



posted by Donald at November 30, 2009


Is this the latest right-wing hysteria du jour? A routine data dump back in the 1980s?

Posted by: Steve on November 30, 2009 1:56 PM

To try to gauge how serious the trans-national progressive environmentalists are about global warming, just ask yourself how you would behave if you had discovered a global threat that was so catastrophic and dangerous that it was the equivalent of an asteroid heading for earth that could wipe out life as we know it.

Knowing that people on the other end of the political spectrum are skeptical about anything coming from your left-wing end that smacks of big government, global government, or huge taxes, would you, knowing of this WORLD-ENDING THREAT, try to take political advantage of it by proposing huge confiscatory taxes and a massive transfer of wealth to the Third World, accompanied by bigger, more powerful world government?

Or instead would you say something like, "look, Republicans/conservatives/skeptics, we know you're skeptical, and you're right, we've used the threat of global catastrophe in the past as an excuse to grab power. But this is too serious, too threatening, for that kind of thing. Look, we know you're skeptical, so YOU decide what to do, and we'll go along with whatever you come up with as long as it addresses the threat. Forget about wealth transfers to the Third World, forget about the U.N. - hell, we'll agree to abolish the U.N. if you want! - forget about taxes, whatever - we don't care, come up with the most conservative/free-market solution you want, just come up with something! And you skeptics - here, here is all of our data -- here is all of it, every bit, and every calculation, and every piece of software we wrote - you don't need to use Freedom of Information Act requests, we'll happily give you everything we've written, researched, collected - look, we'll go through it with you bit by bit and address every skeptical notion you have, respectfully and patiently -- we will help publicize every skeptical point you make so we can answer them clearly and show our good faith. This is beyond politics, this is beyond careerism, this is the future of the human race at stake!

If you were really trying to convince people to save the world from the equivalent of an asteroid coming to hit it, would you demonize skeptics or would you be as open as possible, sharing your evidence with the most skeptical of them, spending all the time they want answering every question they have, addressing every bit of counter-evidence? Remember, this is the world at stake!

I think it's obvious what they've been doing. They want to forward their trans-national progressive collectivist plans. They want to put huge taxes on productive activity as a means of choking it off, down-sizing humanity, and generating money to "redistribute" to the Third World. They want a crisis they can use to shift power to the U.N. where the socialist majority can reshape the world in the way they want it to be. As Rahm Emmanuel said, "never waste a good crisis". And if you don't have a good crisis, then generate one. This global warming stuff is right out of the Alinsky/Chicago Machine playbook.

Posted by: Mark on November 30, 2009 2:19 PM

I've been following this story for a while and it is quite disturbing.

I've no problems with the guys at the CRU being disparaging towards the global warming skeptics, scientists are human too. My real concern here is their refusal to share their data so that other scientists can verify their claims. What really sucks in the leaked emails, is evidence of deliberate obfuscation and data manipulation to produce the desired results. These guys should be fired not because of their belief in global warming but because of the unprofessional nature of their conduct.

Posted by: slumlord on November 30, 2009 4:05 PM

My reading of the media entrails have found a lot of stories lately about doubts about AGW, certainly imminent catastrophic consequences of AGW. This tells me the media are putting into place an exit strategy: when they are rightly pilloried for massively hyping a non-existent threat, they can point to their articles in 2009 and say to the effect: Once it started becoming clear we weren't heading for armageddon, we began to publish stories to that effect.

My guess is that this story will be minimized: there are other publicly available data sets, and with the code available too. The issue that has shaken the AGW armageddonists to their core is not the emails or the skullduggery. It's the fact that the earth just isn't getting warmer.

And, ironically, the source of the latest information that has shown that we're not heading for imminent catastrophe is the CRU...the source of the emails, the cludgey code and the lost data!

As I said, the media, and before long, the pols, are preparing to flee the rapidly sinking ship. They might get away with it...but I don't think so.

It's odd. Back in, oh, 2001, I was drinking heavily and brooding about the growth of religious fanaticism in the world and muttering in my cups about how the Dark Ages were falling once more. But then the Dover court case put paid to the Intelligent Design crowd, we began to realize the terrorist threat was overblown, and the incredible resources of the most powerful civilization ever known were being mobilized to swat away its (hyped third world) enemies...well, what happened?

Le trahison des clercs, part deux: Science's turn to screw up! The original treason of the intellectuals was the betrayal of the humanities by those who preferred "commitment" to truth: the ism-ists of historical infamy. And now, in the 21st century, our new clerks, our new intellectuals, scientists, sacrificed their own integrity, their own path or calling, to what? To commitment: commitment to the new -ism, the new church, the new irrational oogah-boogah back-of-the-brain mumbo-jumbo B*LLHOCKEY: apocalyptic environmentalism.

They sold their souls to Gaia. And they didn't have to do it. All they had to do was be more cautious, more sane, more adult, more rational, more scientific...and they'd be fine today. But commitment took them by the short and curlies and they started to dance to the corrupting call of power, status, influence, funding...oh, and did I say power?

Science is getting a great big egg on its face, not because of the emails, but because they railed and screamed about armageddonic prophesies that their models just didn't support.

Their decade is up. They blew it. And the real back-of-the-brain oogah-boogah mongers are dusting themselves off...and getting ready for another go around. Care for another blast of post-modernist skepticism? How about creation science? Getting depressed yet? Well, they're slavering right now, looking at the reeling, stunned reality-based community.

Congrats, scientists! You gave aid and comfort to the enemy!

Idiots. We knew the game was up when you took the easy way out and psychologized your opponents by calling them denialists. The give-away sign of the religious fanatic: thinking his opponents have to be bad bad people.

Idiots. Reap your (not warming-driven) whirlwind. You've earned it.

Posted by: PatrickH on November 30, 2009 4:49 PM

The original data is still available at the climate centers where it was collected. Andrew Sullivan pointed this out on his blog. I don't have a link, sorry.

Posted by: Peter L. Winkler on November 30, 2009 6:00 PM

Posted by: Peter L. Winkler on November 30, 2009 6:06 PM

I'm with Steve!

Nothing to see here, nothing at all. A little data dump. Probably not even on purpose - you all know about computer viruses, right?

I jest, of course. Presumably you have spent less than 30 seconds actually looking into the issue. Otherwise, you'd have noticed that "A little data dumping" is not exactly what's been going on.

With regard to climate science, the layman must form his opinion on this trillion-dollar question based on some combination of 1) His own personal knowledge on the subject, and 2) The views of the people and institutions in whom he places trust.

Steve, and others whose response is similar to his, please actually spend some time learning about the leak. ">here is a fine place to start. Also check out the comment thread in this post for a good, healthy adversarial showdown between the denialist and alarmist camps. I'd also suggest (although this borders on the unfair) a browse through the comments at RealClimate, not exactly a neoreactionary Al Gore bash-fest of a blog. Pity Gavin. I almost feel sorry for his task of negotiating the chum-and-shark infested waters of the comment thread. Almost. One of the great things about the internet is that most people have a very keen eye for truth, at least when it's held up next to squirming, mendacious falsehoods.

Anyways. My question to Steve et al: What possible reason do you have to trust this community? Their authority, prestige and finances are directly contingent on public perceptions of the dangers of global warming. We know beyond a reasonable doubt that theirs is a culture of wagon-circling, not truth-seeking. Perhaps you have looked into the matter yourself, and have found evidence that satisfies you, despite the obvious untrustworthiness of Romm and friends? If so, please share it. But you are not going to win me or anyone else over with appeals to the now-discredited authority of the "scientific community."

Actually, scratch that. You will. As you can see from the original 2Blowhards thread that converted me from a climate change skeptic to full-bore denialist, all of this is old news, and has been obvious for some time now to anybody who knows how to work a mouse and keyboard. But the power of the Progressive information apparatus to deceive her subjects is on the wane. At least try not to act so surprised when it comes crashing down.



Posted by: Zdeno on November 30, 2009 7:30 PM

I became really skeptical when Gorbachev jumped on the Green bandwagon. Up until the collapse of the Soviet Union, the far left had had little to do with the environmentalists, except in the occasional attempt to discredit the free market. But when the Berlin Wall came down, they began to take over dedicated environmental movements already existing, such as Greenpeace, and to convert them to global warming thinktanks. With Gorby, we had a political hack in the Soviet Union with a paper trail. In the Soviet era, the communist track record on air and water pollution was abysmal. Germany and other eastern European nations are still trying to clean up the environmental disasters the communist governments left behind. NOW they expect us to believe they really care about the environment? Don't make me laugh. I guess there's one born every minute, because the suckers who have bought into global warming are the most gullible of the gullible. But the hard left knows quite well what they're up to. To paraphrase Dubya, they have a plan and they're sticking to it.

Posted by: Bob Grier on November 30, 2009 7:39 PM

> My real concern here is their refusal to share their data so that other scientists can verify their claims

Agreed. Someone should make them all do it, because theres a collective action problem at best. Even if they themselves all agreed this was a good thing to do, the first to do it unilaterally will expose themselves to more criticism than all the rest who do it.

Posted by: Eric Johnson on November 30, 2009 7:54 PM

Normally I don't repost my old comments, but I think that the one below, which I wrote several months ago on this blog, bears repeating in this context.


(Written as reply to this comment by "Upstate Guy":

@Vladimir: I absolutely deny that "their [climate scientists'] work is bringing them prestige, power, and influence". What an absurd statement. You've obviously not interacted with scientists on a regular and consistent basis, so as someone who does allow me to let you in on a little secret: most scientists do their jobs for the pure love of science, nothing more.)

Look, I have personal experience working in academic research, and I have read vast reams of scientific and other scholarly literature not only from my own field, but also from countless others in which I've had some personal interest. You can't possibly sell me these idealistic fairy tales.

Yes, there are still areas of science that operate very close to the ideal that you describe. For example, mathematics has to be flawless by definition, and some other areas also have extremely healthy research communities. These areas are invariably characterized by two conditions: (1) there is still lots of low hanging fruit withing sight so that there is no need for bullshitting because the paths to quality work are pretty clear, and (2) there is no incentive for producing bullshit for the purpose of supporting political and ideological agendas. (I'm using the term "bullshit" here as defined by Harry Frankfurt.)

As soon as either of these conditions no longer holds in a research area, it will become infested with seemingly scientific, but fundamentally bullshit work. Scientists are just humans. They want to advance their careers, gaining as much power and prestige in the process as possible, and this can be achieved by producing bullshit pseudoscience that successfully poses as quality work, especially if it has important political and ideological implications. If this is the path of least resistance, at least some will take it. Anyone familiar with the basic human nature knows that for someone who takes the bullshit path, self-deception is a more effective and frequently practiced strategy than conscious fraud, and the human grouping instincts are also well-known -- thus, it's obvious that the infestation can proceed without any need for implausible conspiracies.

Fields where condition (1) no longer holds, but (2) still does can remain healthy to a large extent. An example is theoretical physics. It's undoubtedly infested with a significant amount of bullshit work, as demonstrated by incidents such as the Bogdanoff affair -- no matter which side in these controversies is right, it's impossible that at least one isn't bullshitting big time -- yet it remains basically sound. Fields where neither (1) nor (2) holds tend to be pure bullshit, like for example macroeconomics. Generally, condition (2) is far more critical. For example, in sociobiology and behavioral genetics, there's always been plenty of low-hanging fruit, but when you look at the ideological controversies in these fields, regardless of whose side you favor, you can't avoid the conclusion that either Gould and Lewontin or Wilson and Jensen have built vastly influential careers on bullshit.

Why would the climate science, which is obviously also suffering from a severe failure of condition (2), be an exception to these universal rules? Of course that it isn't, and it's clear why a critic with powerful bullshit-detection instincts like Steve McIntyre is facing such fear and hostility from its establishment. As for your idealistic view, assuming you're being upfront and not self-deceiving, I can only conclude that you're either an outsider to science or lucky to be working in some field with a very healthy community.

Posted by: Vladimir on December 1, 2009 1:36 AM

It is interesting that when I went to one of Zdeno's links it took me to a posting where this jumped out: "The timing of this particular episode is probably not coincidental. But if cherry-picked out-of-context phrases from stolen personal emails is the only response to the weight of the scientific evidence for the human influence on climate change, then there probably isn’t much to it."

As for the idea that for scientists actively engaged in climate studies "[t]heir authority, prestige and finances are directly contingent on public perceptions of the dangers of global warming. We know beyond a reasonable doubt that theirs is a culture of wagon-circling, not truth-seeking." How does this apply to the likes of NASA climatologist James Hansen, who is very publicly on record for having his findings censored by politicians and bureaucrats above him during the Bush administration? Or apply to scientists and researchers whose paycheck ultimately flows from energy companies, mining interests, etc.?

It is a given that powerful opponents to the idea of AGW exist. These opponents include transnational energy companies that rely on continued use of fossil fuels for their own political pull and extend to Chamber of Commerce types fearful of anything that might impinge on their profitability. A huge array of businesses are spending copious amounts of lobbying dollars and efforts to deny AGW exists and to thwart efforts to reduce CO2 emissions, while simultaneously spending significant advertising dollars to convince consumers of their "green" bona fides. Is it any wonder that an opposing camp has developed?

To insist that those who think, based on copious evidence, dramatic climate change is occurring, and who strongly suspect human activity is a contributing factor, are all fanatics under the sway of a new Gaia based religion, while those who hold the view that either no change is occurring or, if it is, that no link exists between climate and human activity is itself "beyond a reasonable doubt ... wagon-circling, not truth-seeking."

Posted by: Chris White on December 1, 2009 8:52 AM

You say the cutest things, Chris. Wrap your brain around this:

Posted by: Bob Grier on December 1, 2009 9:48 AM

Christ White-Than-Thou strikes again!

As usual, he's completely, hilariously wrong.

Phil Jones, director of CRU, and the perpetrator of Climategate, receives $19 million in grant funding.

In the U.S., NASA's climate research arm receives $1.3 billion in federal funds.

Climategate was caused by a downpour of foundation and governmental funding. Screaming that the sky is falling is a great way to get the funding spigot flowing.

Christ Whiter-Than-Thou suffers from the usual hipster delusion... he thinks corporate America is conservative. Corporate America is deliriously, self-destructively liberal. Christ Whiter-Than-Thou simply has no experience in the inner sanctums of corporate America, since he's been too busy living the hipster life and Saving the Planet.

Corporate America is 100% behind the greenie ideology, diversity madness, feminism, gay marriage, etc. Why this is so would be a good subject for debate. On a personal level, corporate executives and high level personnel probably believe that this agenda is insanity, but they are required for PR purposes to preach the politically correct barf. What's Christ Whiter-Than-Thou's excuse? He actually volunteers to preach this crap. And he believes that he's cracked the secret code. Too funny for words.

I've actually been there Christ Whiter-Than-Thou. You don't know what you're talking about, as usual. You are a sucker for the prevailing dogma. Your lack of real world experience is amazing.

Even more amazing, your belief that you're privy to some sort of insider knowledge.

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on December 1, 2009 11:51 AM


A few notes. First of all, you present an equivalence between the money funding AGW-confirming research and skeptical research. Do you have any evidence this is so?

Also, if accepting money from a coal company implicates the findings of the resulting study, doesn't the same logic apply to a group accepting money from foundations and government agencies with a clear interest in environmental regulation as a path to social control? Wouldn't, then, it be easier to stop with that line of argument altogether, and examine the competing claims scientifically?

Finally, your notes leans on the debate surrounding how much warming may or may not be happening, and whether or not humans are responsible for it. This scandal centers on this issue. And claiming "routine data dump" is absurd. The scientific method demands the original data be aggregated, and the analytics performed recorded. Is it possible this breach is due to laziness or irresponsibility rather than an agenda? Sure. But, scientifically speaking, it doesn't make any difference. It compromises all their results, plain and simple, and an eighth-grade science final would have covered this.

But the way the alarmists give up the game is in the recommended response: They never, not once, consider solutions based in adaptation, or mitigation. In fact, the idea that a degree of warming is catastrophic is pretty much assumed not to demand justification. Am I saying that I think the benefits of such warming outweigh the costs? No. But I wish the issue were seriously considered. It was warmer, for example, in the Middle Ages and Roman eras, which were both times of relative prosperity for our species.

The only recommended policy response from the alarmists involve the aggrandizement of social control to governments and international institutions. Implicated in this response, by the way, one will also find the world's largest industrial concerns as well, including GE, Siemens, Honeywell, and others. The fact other potential responses are never even vetted indicates that-- at the policy level-- we are not even engaging in science. And, as these e-mails prove, many of the ground-level scientists are not engaging in science, either.

Posted by: karlub on December 1, 2009 11:58 AM

Zdeno, I checked out Donald's original link and it's clear the data dump occurred in the 1980s--before global warming was on anyone's radar screen. So how exactly is that evidence of a vast global warming conspiracy? Plus, as Peter points out, the data still exist from the original sources. I'm all for a healthy skepticism, but we're into paranoid loonyville here.

Posted by: Steve on December 1, 2009 1:15 PM

They never, not once, consider solutions based in adaptation, or mitigation. In fact, the idea that a degree of warming is catastrophic is pretty much assumed not to demand justification.

Are you kidding? The entire mainstream environmentalist agenda for global warming is based on accepting a certain amount of warming over the next century. They want to limit and stabile the increase in atmospheric carbon, not reverse it. Climatologists think the 450 PPM target for atmospheric carbon would probably lead to a permanent warming of 2-4 degrees centigrade over pre-industrial levels, although there seems to be a small chance of much greater warming. And mitigation of the effects is a key part of the whole strategy. The problem is that with no attempt to control carbon emissions at all the risk of a whole lot of warning is increased, and that could overwhelm mitigation efforts.

The level of ignorance around here is depressing.

Posted by: MQ on December 1, 2009 1:39 PM

Zdeno, I checked out Donald's original link and it's clear the data dump occurred in the 1980s--before global warming was on anyone's radar screen. So how exactly is that evidence of a vast global warming conspiracy? Plus, as Peter points out, the data still exist from the original sources. I'm all for a healthy skepticism, but we're into paranoid loonyville here.

Any scientist worth his salt, in presenting his theory, presents the data that backs it up. It's typical scientific protocol whereby you subject your theory to the criticism of your peers. As Richard Feynman once said, "A good scientist is always trying to disprove his theory, a bad scientist is always trying to prove his".

The clear fact that emerges from the emails is that these guys wanted to hide data from their critics. That's just strait out bullshit in the scientific world, no matter what your position is on AGW. Now imagine a Drug company saying you can't see the data upon which we based our claims for drug X; mentally normal people would assume that something is not quite right.

On a side issue. There does seem to be some evidence that the world seems to be cooler since 1998, if global cooling could be shown to be occurring, would we then have to burn massive amounts of fossil fuel to keep the earth at its "appropriate" temperature?

Posted by: slumlord on December 1, 2009 4:40 PM

Oh, how I wish it were possible for Shouting Thomas to get past his childishly annoying habit of immediately making personal insults, presuming all sorts of things about me, about who and what I know or do beyond the bits that can be gleaned from my comments here. If I posted two or three comments in a row with half the number of personal insults aimed at anyone with whom I strongly disagree as ST launches at me on a regular basis I have little doubt I'd get myself banned from 2BH in perpetuity. While the rough and tumble of a lively blog virtually demands a degree of both flaming and being thick skinned, ST's continual personal attacks are getting mighty old.

karlub – It was Steve, not me who mentioned "routine data dump."

Bob Grier – Thanks. An excellent and troubling link.

My "Devil's Advocate" gene is a strong one. Among AGW fanatics I am prone to questioning Al Gore's motives, the logic or utility of "cap and trade" legislation, and so on. When engaging those who argue it is all a vast, global conspiracy of leftists intent on enforcing social control I tend to emphasize what has been a general consensus among climatologists that it is real and therefore worth attempting to moderate it by reducing our planetary carbon emissions.

My position about AGW has been more agnostic than True Believer. Religious agnostics have been known to take communion or ask for a deathbed confession and absolution ... just in case the True Believers are right. As an AGW agnostic my attitude is that it would probably be prudent to act as if AGW were true ... just in case.

This current controversy is troubling, to say the very least. It may well be that when the dust settles AGW will no longer appear to be an acceptable theory and many of its champions will be in disgrace for unscientific conduct. If so, I will probably heave a huge sigh of relief and look to the future with an increased optimism. If, however, this key group of prominent supporters of the theory of AGW are correct, but used such disreputable tactics to avoid proper peer review or criticism that it causes the baby to be thrown out with the bathwater, it could be a catastrophe.

In either case, for now I remain an agnostic, leaning toward prudence. I see no good in sweeping this under the rug; neither do I see this as reason to immediately claim a vast conspiracy bent on global control has been perpetrated in the name of climate change.

Posted by: Chris White on December 1, 2009 4:41 PM

@ MQ:

Oh, c'mon, The level of ignorance is depressing? There's no reason for ad hominem, and there's always a reason for charity and class.

You misunderstand what I meant by adaptation and mitigation, and in so doing helped me make my point. I meant learning how to live with additional warming, or perhaps even how to harness it.

You've helped me make my point, see? You heard "adaptation" and "mitigation" and lept *straight* to adapting current energy generation to accommodate the pre-determined goal of mitigating CO2 production.

My point was we do not even discuss the cost-benefit analysis with *other* forms of adaptation, or other techniques for mitigation. The former could be anticipating those areas most harmfully impacted, and maximizing the use of areas beneficially impacted. The latter could involve things like increasing or decreasing water vapor in areas accordingly, as water vapor is a much larger driver of global climate than CO2.

Personally, I do not have a pre-determined agenda, so I do not know what the result of such cost-benefit analysis would be. My point is that, with all the billions of dollars being thrown at the problem, one would think these would be bigger issues. The fact they are not seems, to me, something of an indicator that the fix is in: The a priori premise is "What to do about CO2", not "What to do about apparent warming? How bad is it? Can we live with it? Are there any benefits we are ignoring?"

Finally, your benchmark of "pre-industrial" strikes to the heart of what the current hullaballoo is about. I assume we can take it as given that the Earth has experienced much warmer temperatures in the past than it currently enjoys, can we not? The scientists consuming us now were the ones in charge of determining what those historical temperatures *were*.

Please note that at no point in this post have I expressed an opinion one way or the other about the anthropogenic global warming thesis. I initially pointed out faults in the deployment of the scientific method by the CRU group, and now have moved on to showing how that science is applied to our situation in an unscientific way.

So the "level of ignorance" accusation seems inappropriate to me, especially since you had no objection to the first two thirds of my post, and your objections to the last third were based on a misunderstanding regarding definitions. I apologize if earlier I was unclear.

Posted by: karlub on December 1, 2009 4:48 PM


How do you reduce the amount of water vapor or liquid water in a closed system? We can choose to not liberate CO2 from hydrocarbons or other solids by not burning it. How do you intend to reduce the amount of water? BTW, water vapor increases as a function of warming, which is stimulated by increased CO2 and methane.

Posted by: Peter L. Winkler on December 2, 2009 12:44 AM

Just to lower the level of ignorance even further for our resident depressives:

Posted by: Robert Townshend on December 2, 2009 6:39 AM

This article seems pertinent.

Posted by: slumlord on December 2, 2009 7:01 AM

Sorry, Chris, but I just can't help myself. Your pose is so funny.

Although you think you're a rebel and outsider, what you preach is the gospel of governnment control and corporate ideology. If we had an American version of Pravda, you'd be a natural for a writing position.

I wouldn't sit through another corporate/ governmental lecture on your dogma unless I had a gun pointed at my head. In fact, I did have a gun pointed to my head... the loss of my salary. Most of us had to sit through the crap lectures you love or face the loss of our jobs.

And, you just keep on offering up another serving of that dreary dogma! It's absolutely preposterous. What makes it even more preposterous is that you believe that you came up with this whole stew of propaganda on your own. As I've remarked on other occasions, you really missed your calling in this life. "Diversity consultants" in corporate America charge $1,000 to $2,000 a day to punish employees with the type of lectures you love to deliver.

You're harmless, that's true. I meet dozens of your kind in Woodstock. The confusion that you suffer is not surprising. The educational system works very hard at indoctrinating people in your kitchy dogma. The northeast is the center of the dumb cult that gives comfort and support to those who worship the strange, lazy god of hipsterism.

Convincing you of anything is an absolute waste of time. It's probably not even that important that you've become a robot repeater of the prevalent dogma.

Every once in a while, I just get infuriated by the total lack of awareness you exhibit, and decide for a few minutes that there might be a way to force you to notice that you are absolutely the opposite of what you think you are.

But that's a hopeless task, isn't it? And, I'm really wasting my time.

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on December 2, 2009 10:11 AM

@ Peter Winkler:

Water vapor in the atmosphere has potentially reflective qualities-- in the form of clouds-- in addition to the greenhouse function of "invisible" vapor that traps heat.

Thus one answer may be to simply create more clouds, which we already know how to do. The Chinese are doing it right now. Said clouds would reflect solar radiation, lowering temperature, and would also serve as seeds for vapor already in the atmosphere to create more clouds.

The stuff of science fiction? Maybe. But so is shutting down the use of fossil fuels in the short term and attempting to depend on off-shore windmills, or solar farms the size of Arizona that will require enormous amounts of fresh water to keep clean.

My point being, even if one accepts AGW, the fact that alarmists *immediately* jump to the mitigation of CO2 release belies their unscientific instincts. There is clearly another unstated motivation for this, because it is not just scientific. Otherwise the discussion regarding mitigation and adaptation would be more robust.

Do I know what that motivation is? No. But it seems all proposed schemes involve social control, and it also seems major industrial interests are behind the effort as well. So political monetary entrepreneurship in a fixed market also seems to be playing a factor, too. Finally, it seems pretty obvious that some unscientific instinct, Luddite in character, which thinks modernity is a big mistake is also involved. On the latter point, I may not even disagree. But when I advocate that point of view I do it transparently. I don't use apocalypse stories. Well, except when I'm talking about peak oil ;-)

Posted by: karlub on December 2, 2009 2:59 PM

The level of depression here is ignorant.

Posted by: PatrickH on December 2, 2009 4:46 PM

karlub – Since you responded to MQ's closing comment "The level of ignorance is depressing" after their cogent, on topic, statement by saying, "There's no reason for ad hominem, and there's always a reason for charity and class." I thought it would be worth the side tangent to ask you, as a representative 2BH commenter, whether you consider Shouting Thomas's comments aimed at me to be "ad hominem" or not.

Now, as I understand it the definition of ad hominem is appealing to prejudices rather than reason by attacking an opponent's character rather than answering his argument. By this definition it is difficult to see where MQ's mild, generalized, closer rises to an ad hominem. It is far more difficult to find much of anything BUT personal venom in Shouting Thomas's targeting me as a supposed representative for all the Woodstock hippies he so detests.

Given that my AGW position has been repeatedly stated as prudent agnostic, and that my comments here reflect an open mind as to whether the CRU scandal may prove to be a serious blow to any scientific consensus about AGW, I find it difficult to believe ST even bothers to read my comments before launching into his "Christ Whiter-Than-Thou, Woodstock hippie, leftist stooge..." shtick.

The reason I ask is that it appears the already decided tilt to the 2BH playing field is getting worse. Anyone deviating from a hard right libertarian view is attacked in very personal, uncharitable and far from classy ways. And once ST or B or some other commenter attacks, there is often a sharks-attracted-to-blood-in-the-water phenomenon whereby a series of similar ad hominem comments follow as the 2BH in-crowd attempts to one-up each other in the most clever turn of phrase to insult the character and intelligence of the victim du jour.

Posted by: Chris White on December 3, 2009 7:53 AM

Chris White,

How is it that you can characterize your pro-AGW view as "prudent"?

The idea that human beings affect climate in any way is a theory, not a fact. It's the people who put forward the theory who have to prove their case, not the other way around.

Prudence is a conservative view-erring on the side of caution. Endorsing a completely unproven and nutty point of view is not prudent--it's reactionary. Caution is not believing that the sky is falling until proven otherwise. Its believing that everything is alright until proven otherwise.

You are simply trying to rename an apple into an orange. People insult you because you never answer their points. You just re-state your view over and over again. It's you who are insulting everybody else by ignoring them and then moralizing ad naseum.

Posted by: B on December 3, 2009 1:02 PM

In case you guys missed it by being in the wrong hemisphere:

On December 1, the Liberal (conservative) party of Australia ditched its centre left banker and warmenist leader, and replaced him with a mouthy right winger, specifically on the issue of opposing the Labor government's ETS policy.

Tony Abbott is a buffed surfer type, frequently in trouble for mouthing off. A practising Catholic, he may or may not have had a real job in his 52 years, but he has a Jesuitical streak to balance out his apparent rashness.

The journos and clever people loathe him, much as they loathe Palin and loathed Regan: always a very good sign.

After Abbott's narrow victory, the party was immediately allowed a secret ballot on the issue of ETS. The vote was strongly for deferral.

Now that the opposition has declared its readiness to fight an election specifically on the issue of an ETS, Labor's sophisticates have discovered new complexities and layers of meaning in the text of their policy. They suddenly seem more than happy to conduct ongoing discussions concerning their richly nuanced ETS. No vulgar talk of "fighting" from their side.

Why would that be?

Posted by: Robert Townshend on December 3, 2009 6:28 PM

B – How can I characterize my position as prudent? Well, if one can remember forty plus years ago then one remembers when the link between cancer and cigarettes was still a controversial and unproven theory. There was growing consensus in the medical research community that smoking was a strong contributing and plausibly causal factor, but there remained significant skepticism on the part of many others in the field. The tobacco industry was fighting hard to disprove the theory, funding its own research efforts with that aim and releasing data that helped their efforts. Would a prudent person decide to stop smoking (if they could break their nicotine addiction) or would a prudent person continue to smoke because they were "willing to believe everything is alright until proven otherwise"?

Pardon me if I think the answer is a prudent person would try to quit smoking ... and might be alive today because of that prudence. Pardon me again if I think it prudent to err on the side of caution by seeking ways to moderate what may (or may not) prove to have been the catastrophic altering of our planet's thermostat through the unintended consequences associated with use of fossil fuels since the industrial revolution cranked into full gear.

Now, even though this is yet another example of me answering a point, I doubt it is likely to change anyone's view on either smoking or AGW. What seems to get your knickers in a bunch is that I fail to change my mind on when confronted by opposing arguments ... or attacks on my intelligence, character, and morals. Nope, I just go on expressing my own views again and again ... obviously unlike anyone else on 2BH. Certainly you have never continued to volley back and forth with another commenter who holds a differing view ... oh ... wait ... "Never mind!" as Rosanne Rosannadanna used to say.

Posted by: Chris White on December 4, 2009 8:05 AM

Chris White,

In the case of smoking, scientists tried to cover up that it was bad.

In the case of AGW, scientists are trying to cover up the fact it doesn't exist.

Nice try.

You didn't answer my point, but deflected to another one--smoking.

Prudence means being overly conservative toward change. Again, you managed to rename black as white and day as night.

Shouting Thomas has you pegged.

Posted by: B on December 4, 2009 1:54 PM


[Thought I'd do a re-write of your last comment to make it reflect my view of the situation.]

In the case of smoking, [those] scientists [whose funding came from tobacco companies] tried to cover up that it was bad [while independent and/or government funded medical researchers were developing a consensus that it led to cancer and other major health problems.]

In the case of AGW, [a strong consensus has developed among climatologists that it is a real and significant problem. Unfortunately a handful of those] scientists are trying to cover up the fact [that not all the data fully supports certain computer models attempting to project the exact changes that will occur. It is likely they did so to enhance their own positions of importance and to avoid giving any ammunition to those who believe] it doesn't exist.

Nice try. [but leaving out important points can distort things.]

You didn't [accept the] answer [I offered, or perhaps willfully ignored] my point, but [mistaking my analogy for a different topic entirely, want to claim that I] deflected to another one--smoking.

Prudence means [erring on the side of caution, which often, although not always, means] being overly conservative toward change. [In the exceedingly short (in planetary terms) time period known as the Industrial Era we humans have dramatically changed how individuals, especially in the increasingly industrialized nations, interact with our natural environment, impacting it to a degree heretofore unimaginable. This radical change has coincided with extraordinary population increases in both the industrialized and developing nations. More humans are currently alive than all the humans who existed before the 20th century began combined. The combination of the astounding expansion of human population and the dramatically increased impact each human now has might well make the Industrial Revolution the most radical revolution in all of human history.]

[Use too short a time period to judge what is the "norm" versus what is "change" and you can mistake the remarkably radical for the so-called conservative.] Again, [if you only look at the short term status quo and mistake it for the long arc of traditional human activities, then] you managed to rename black as white and day as night.

Posted by: Chris White on December 5, 2009 2:14 AM

@ Chris:

Sorry to be late in the response. I find Shouting Thomas to also be willing to engage ad hominem attacks. Yes.

But, I also admit to finding his style engaging in an over-the-top sort of way, even though sometimes he does make me cringe a little. Sort of like Hunter Thompson, Matt Taibbi, or Tom Wolfe. Although, with the latter, I rarely cringe.

The difference, though, is ST indicates a fairly secure knowledge of where the people he is insulting are coming from. When someone more or less arbitrarily calls the level of ignorance in here depressing, the opposite is occurring.

For example, as I mentioned in a different thread, I automatically ignore those skeptical of Divinity if they start with something along the lines of "I don't believe there is a man in the sky." That indicates they don't understand even the rudiments of what they're critiquing.

Now, do I find ST more palatable because he often tends to confirm my own biases? Sure. But I can also similarly enjoy the ripostes of those I disagree with, too, but not when they come off as humorless and blinkered scolds.

Posted by: karlub on December 11, 2009 7:30 AM

I was not, btw, accusing anyone here of being a humorless scold ;-)

Posted by: karlub on December 11, 2009 7:32 AM

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