Global Warming

Global Warming rigged?

Here’s a good take on the global warming email scandal that broke last week. It’s written by George Monbiot, a well-known environmental advocate, so it’s fair to say this isn’t ideological posturing:

It’s no use pretending this isn’t a major blow. The emails extracted by a hacker from the climatic research unit at the University of East Anglia could scarcely be more damaging. I am now convinced that they are genuine, and I’m dismayed and deeply shaken by them.

Yes, the messages were obtained illegally. Yes, all of us say things in emails that would be excruciating if made public. Yes, some of the comments have been taken out of context. But there are some messages that require no spin to make them look bad. There appears to be evidence here of attempts to prevent scientific data from being released, and even to destroy material that was subject to a freedom of information request.

Worse still, some of the emails suggest efforts to prevent the publication of work by climate sceptics, or to keep it out of a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. I believe that the head of the unit, Phil Jones, should now resign. Some of the data discussed in the emails should be re-analysed.

But do these revelations justify the sceptics’ claims that this is “the final nail in the coffin” of global warming theory? Not at all. They damage the credibility of three or four scientists. They raise questions about the integrity of one or perhaps two out of several hundred lines of evidence. To bury man-made climate change, a far wider conspiracy would have to be revealed. Luckily for the sceptics, and to my intense disappointment, I have now been passed the damning email that confirms that the entire science of global warming is indeed a scam. Had I known that it was this easy to rig the evidence, I wouldn’t have wasted years of my life promoting a bogus discipline. In the interests of open discourse, I feel obliged to reproduce it here.

Good points. The emails are certainly a blow for those who worship at the altar of science.

By | November 24th, 2009|Uncategorized|1 Comment

The Civil Heretic: Freeman Dyson

Rather interesting New York Times profile of Freeman Dyson, the incredibly smart physicist making waves for his views on global warming:

Dyson says he doesn’t want his legacy to be defined by climate change, but his dissension from the orthodoxy of global warming is significant because of his stature and his devotion to the integrity of science. Dyson has said he believes that the truths of science are so profoundly concealed that the only thing we can really be sure of is that much of what we expect to happen won’t come to pass. In “Infinite in All Directions,” he writes that nature’s laws “make the universe as interesting as possible.” This also happens to be a fine description of Dyson’s own relationship to science. In the words of Avishai Margalit, a philosopher at the Institute for Advanced Study, “He’s a consistent reminder of another possibility.” When Dyson joins the public conversation about climate change by expressing concern about the “enormous gaps in our knowledge, the sparseness of our observations and the superficiality of our theories,” these reservations come from a place of experience. Whatever else he is, Dyson is the good scientist; he asks the hard questions. He could also be a lonely prophet. Or, as he acknowledges, he could be dead wrong.

By | March 26th, 2009|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Climate change and objectivity

Interesting column in the New York Times about scientific objectivity and political advocacy:

But climate change, like most political issues, isn’t so simple. While most scientists agree that anthropogenic global warming is a threat, they’re not certain about its scale or its timing or its precise consequences (like the condition of California’s water supply in 2090). And while most members of the public want to avoid future harm from climate change, they have conflicting values about which sacrifices are worthwhile today.

A scientist can enter the fray by becoming an advocate for certain policies, like limits on carbon emissions or subsidies for wind power. That’s a perfectly legitimate role for scientists, as long as they acknowledge that they’re promoting their own agendas.

But too often, Dr. Pielke says, they pose as impartial experts pointing politicians to the only option that makes scientific sense. To bolster their case, they’re prone to exaggerate their expertise (like enumerating the catastrophes that would occur if their policies aren’t adopted), while denigrating their political opponents as “unqualified” or “unscientific.”

A good read.

By | February 27th, 2009|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Truth via consensus thru Wikipedia

I just gave some money to Wikipedia. If you use it like I use it, consider doing the same.

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

I find that Wikipedia is often my first source for any information. And if the topic is contetious (Global Warming, South Ossetia, the Armenian Genocide), then I know I’m going to get information that was debated and agreed upon (eventually) by both sides. That works a lot better for me than a traditional encyclopedia or news source.

Some scholars dismiss the concept of “truth via consensus” as post-modern mumbo-jumbo. “No,” they argue. “Objective truth exists.” Well, I’m not so sure.

In the meantime, Wikipedia seems to be working pretty well.

By | November 6th, 2008|Uncategorized|0 Comments