Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Debunking Al Gore's Junk Science

If you have a spare fifteen minutes, you should read an overview of Marlo Lewis Jr.'s "Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth: One-sided, Misleading, Exaggerated, Speculative, Wrong" located at this link.

It shows how enviromental fear is used as a scare tactic against Americans and the failings of the Kyoto Protocols. It counters many statements that the global warming liberals, greens and mainstream media often use.


Paul E. Zimmerman said...

I've been looking for something like this. I'm going to give it a read when I'm not feeling sleepy. Thanks! :)

Nic said...

Does anyone find it odd that Dr. Lewis is not citing any of the sources for his rebuttles? Claims of scientific fact are usually backed up with citations... until he posts them I don't know how you could reasonably put much weight into his arguments.

Satanic Mechanic said...

The same can be said about globaling warming "facts". Global warming is not a fact or a theory, it is an observation with a weak hypothesis.

Satanic Mechanic said...

this link to the PDF file is a ten page overview of his counterpoints. The author is not going to publish his book over the internet. He does want to make money off his book. I am sure he cites his sources at the end of the book.

Nic said...

To the contrary, global warming is a theory, and hundreds, if not thousands, of scientists across the world, are researching it. Some support the idea and some oppose it. The thing that I find particularly frustrating and mystifying is how some people refuse to acknowledge that 'the other side' is actually doing credible research. Sorry to break it to you, but some researchers are finding a correlation between human activity and an increase global temperatures... and at the exact same time others are finding absolutely no correlation. Isn't science great? How anybody who is not an expert on climate science can sit on the sidelines and say, "Global warming is a crock" or "Oh my God! Global warming! We're all going to die!" is beyond me. And when people point to information spouted off by hacks like Al Gore, Steve Milloy and maybe this Lewis guy (but I'll wait until I see his book) I sit and wonder: do they really want to know the truth, or are they just believing what they want to believe?

If you really believe in science then you accept that alternative views might have some credibility, even if you don’t agree with them, while remaining skeptical of even your own beliefs. Otherwise, you’re polluting the name of science by being just another partisan hack, whichever side of the line you may fall on.

April E. Coggins said...

Global warming compared to what? Are we comparing modern temperatures to the glacial age, when the glaciers carved out the Palouse? Or perhaps we are actually cooling, as evidenced by fewer dinosaurs. Or maybe we are comparing our weather to the winters Grandma used to have? What should be the "normal" temperature, without man?

I appreciate that you want to give both sides a wide berth, but it's the Left that is attempting to disrupt the global economy on the "theory" that the earth may be warming and man may be the cause. Pardon me for my scepticism and for guarding my closely held freedom.

On a lighter note, I hear we are going to have global warming toward the end of next week! Hopefully, the weather people have it right.

Paul E. Zimmerman said...

Every winter I peer out of my windows at the snow and ice around here, and I have to wonder - what's so bad about global warming? ;)

Satanic Mechanic said...

I know about science and scientific method, the same method in which theory is generated. I am an engineer now and I remember growing up hearing about the global warming. I am more open minded than you think but I know the difference between a hypothesis and a theory.
Do not tell me that science is pure and free from politics. I saw enough b.s., and I do not mean bachelor of science, from the University of Idaho.
So far global warming has not produced a valid theory. So far the only thing I have seen is observations, a hypothesis and some pretty weak computer models. Models I am sure that do not account for all variables. The observations that are temperatures that are taken usually from cities and I am sure they have not taken into account the size of cities increasing which cause urban heat.
Another thing we do not know is if the world is getting warmer, is it because of a natural cycle? As April brought up, our last ice age occurred 10,000 years ago. Considering the Earth is over 4.5 billion years old, ten thousand years is less than a blink of an eye in geologic terms.

Nic said...

I’ll make a deal with you all. The journal Science published an article in 2004 in which it reviewed almost 930 scientific papers published in various scientific journals between 1993 and 2003. This article went on to say that of the roughly 930 articles published, none of the articles contradicted the position of major scientific organizations that “the evidence for human modification of climate is compelling" (Here is a rebuttal to the article).

Here’s where the deal comes in. If you agree to read the 930 research papers and can explain to me by citing specific reasons why each and every one is flawed in their findings and/or methodology, then I will agree that global warming is a ‘junk science.’ Until then you have to at least accept the notion that, while none of the findings point conclusively to human causes of global warming, of the 930 papers that seem to come to similar conclusions at least one or two might make an interesting point supporting the idea of human caused global warming and there may be at least a tiny bit of scientific relevance to their claims, thereby warranting the continued research and refinement of method until we can definitively say yea or nay to global warming.

Any takers?

Satanic Mechanic said...

Sounds like a challenge. If you can get all 930 papers and you will review them we with me, I will take your challenge.

Paul E. Zimmerman said...

Nic -

I'll take you up on that just as soon as you prove to all of us that you read all 930 of the papers yourself so as to verify the accuracy of the article you've mentioned.

Tom Forbes said...

I wonder if this was one of the 930 studies?:

The sun might have contributed approximately 50%
of the observed global warming since 1900

It is a radical concept, I know, that the Sun makes the Earth warm. Now, what are we going to do about it?

Tom Forbes said...

This is another excellent work, chock full of references:

Apocalypse cancelled

Nic said...

And for my grand finale -

SM - I'd be happy to start sending some papers your way, but it's up to you to review them... I'm not the one questioning their findings.

Paul - The whole point of publishing papers in technical journals is so that the scientific community can scrutinize over their findings. I'm sure some of the paper have some major flaws in them, but I refuse to believe that all of them are as worthless as you all seem to think they are.

Tom - Thank you for the papers. Neither study was included in the article I mentioned because the article was written in 2004 and both papers you cited weren't published until 2006.

The most puzzling question that remains for me is why is it that you have no problem trusting and believing the two papers that Tom just posted, but refuse to even consider the idea that any one of 1000s of paper that support the idea of global warming could have some inkling of truth to them?

Paul E. Zimmerman said...

Nic -

In your response to Mr. Mechanic, you say "I'm not the one questioning their findings," and then in response to me, you say both "I'm sure some of them have some major flaws in them" and "I refuse to believe that all of them are as worthless..."

Have you even read them, as I originally asked, or are you simply playing the part you accuse us of, that we are cherry picking the data? Do you really know what conclusions were reached in each and every one of those 930 papers, how the authors reached their conclusions, and whether or not they were properly cited in that article? Or are you just accepting of what the article says because of what it says? It is starting to sound as if you are guilty of the latter.

And I would like to see your proof that I or anyone else here "refuse to even consider the idea that any one of the 1000s of paper [sic] that support the idea of global warming could have some inkling of truth to them." How can you possibly know that we do that? Have you been reading over our shoulders all of these years? Is it because our own inquiries into these questions have led us to a different conclusion that you assume it means we've only drawn upon one side of the debate? Are you engaging in post hoc ergo proctor hoc reasoning? What individuals would that possibly remind one of...

Recall that this thread started from a publication specifically addressing Al Gore's film, and now you're claiming that we disregard absolutely everything ever produced that happens to in whole or in part support the film's conclusions (and I should add, no one ever said that they do in fact think this - only you have said this about us).

Someone had better inform Kreskin that he has been outdone.

April E. Coggins said...

Nic, Nic, Nic. Sigh. Weren't you the one that dismissed an entire web site devoted to this topic because you claimed that you knew of and disagreed with the site owner's politics? Even though the site consisted mostly of links to outside scientific studies. Now you expect me to wade through your reading list?

I have offered my opinion and your rebuttal seems to be a self-invented, self-serving hoop to jump through. No thanks.

Satanic Mechanic said...

Hey Nic,
I accepted your challenge and you are backing down? You will not defend the papers written against my rebutal? When you make a challenge you follow it through. Call me when you grow a set.
You claim I am not open to science when you are defending your Nature article/900+ global warming papers like a religous zealot. At least I have the courage to question global warming.
Let me give you a little history lesson. People believed that the Earth travelled in the "Aether". Many papers were written about the Aether and it was accepted as theory. Two men, Michelson and Morley, questioned the theory and disproved it through their experiments. As we know nowthat the Earth travels through space because of these men had the courage and intelligence to question.
I am leaving you part of a quote from one of my physics teachers since you use the term "scientific fact" a lot: "Fact is legal term not a scientific term." The rest of the quote lists the steps of scientific method.

Tom Forbes said...

You can't get a much more demonstrable natural phenomenon than gravity. We have many laws and theorems to exactly describe its behavior and its effects can easily be replicated over and over again. But what exactly causes gravity? The greatest minds in science from Newton to Einstein have theorized, but no one knows for sure. It could be gravity waves, gravity particles, specific types of motion, the curving of space, etc..

Now, take climate, something infinitely less predictable than gravity and not subject to experimentation or replication, and "they" say that there is better than 90% probability man is the cause of global warming?

Do you understand how even very reasonable people and not wingnuts could be highly skeptical, especially when the proposed "solution" advances a particular political agenda?

Nic said...

Ok, I guess I'm not done.

Paul - I apologize if I assumed something that is not true, but if anyone does think that there may be a little truth to the concern of human caused global warming then please speak up because all I hear on this topic is a lemming parade following the stance of the 'right.' It would be very nice to hear that, while you don't personally think that global warming is a threat or caused by humans, some studies may show some interesting correlations to the contrary. Anyone?

April - Steven Milloy has an obvious and inarguable bias in the political realm, therefore I have to assume that everything on his website has either been cherry-picked or skewed to support his claims. Please read my comments again; I never said I disagreed with his politics, but since he is obviously not impartial I don't feel that he is a trustworthy source of information for the reasons mentioned above. When you can provide me with an organization run by people with no obvious outward political affiliation or bias then I will take that web site seriously. Until then I have to stick to the science journals.

and SM - That's very nice, trying to insult someone in the midst of a debate. Please reread my challenge. I was asking that you read the papers and tell me why you disagree with them. I made no mention of reading them together and debating each one individually, that was your addition to the challenge: an addition that I am not interested in. And here is why:

I believe that each side probably has valid arguments. And because I'm not performing my own research, nor am I capable of doing so, I have no choice but to accept both sides until there is indisputable evidence supporting one position or the other (which will probably never happen).

I can honestly say that I don't know which side is correct, so I'm willing to listen to both sides. Can any of you say the same?

And, I would still like an answer to my question. How do you all decide which studies are credible and which are not? From this outsider's perspective it looks as if any study that refutes global is credible and all the others are not. Please let me know if and how I am wrong.

Satanic Mechanic said...

I added insult because you thumped your chest in defense of global warming with your challenge and you backed down.
Judging from the change of stance in your messages, you now question it as oppossed to accepting it. That is free thinking and not what the main stream media feeds to the public. It is not a crime to question.

Paul E. Zimmerman said...

Nic: "It would be very nice to hear that, while you don't personally think that global warming is a threat or caused by humans, some studies may show some interesting correlations to the contrary."

Very nice? Maybe you would like someone to say that, but no one owes you any such thing, and it's not a valid point of debate to expect and demand it. If the person you are discussing such a matter with does hold that position, fine. Otherwise, if they do not, you can answer their points or choose to drop the discussion, but you cannot sit there insisting that they endorse something for no reason other than you would like them to.

As to my personal take on this, which I've not actually stated before now, is that I do not think anyone has conclusively proven that humans are the cause of global warming, that we are not the cause, or that we are part of numerous causes, and as such to what extent and degree we are.

It does seem that the earth is warming, and other than my questions as to how much of a role we truly play in that, my other question is as to whether it will necessarily spell disaster. It would mean change, but why is that necessarily bad? Looking around the world, as it is right now, it sure doesn't look perfect, so I'm skeptical as to how dire the difference would then be in a warmer world.

What I can say is that the calls to do something about it, which always come in the form of shutting down industries, is a huge reaction based upon inconclusive evidence. The supposed threat to our lives and societies is to be answered by... reducing the quality of our lives and societies. This leads me to suspect that the impetus behind much of the calls to action on this matter are political, i.e. socialist/collectivist (many of the proposed "fixes" certainly stink of that!).

Additionally, to my mind, too many of the proposals for tackling global warming call for curbing (and in some cases, eliminating) whole industries. I do not think enough emphasis is put upon developing technologies to mitigate the supposed problems. Again, I think this stems from a political motivation.

Nic: "I can honestly say that I don't know which side is correct, so I'm willing to listen to both sides. Can any of you say the same?"

Yes, and I'm guessing that all of us actually do. What we do not do is then throw up our hands and say, "I cannot be certain, therefore, I will do nothing." It is not unreasonable to take action while admitting uncertainty, but still allowing for new data in the future to change the course of one's actions or the form of one's ideas. It is simply not possible for us as human beings to know everything, but still we must act. There is still the question of reasonable actions versus unreasonable ones, and in this case, I step back and look at the situation and ask, "should we really deliberately reduce our quality of life when there are so many variables that we admit we cannot account for?" This is especially so, I think, for the reason I stated earlier: the outcome of one course of action or the other, according to the people who want us to believe in global warming, supposedly leads to the same conclusion (though they won't admit to a reduced quality of life if we go down the road of quashing industry).

Nic: "And, I would still like an answer to my question. How do you all decide which studies are credible and which are not? From this outsider's perspective it looks as if any study that refutes global is credible and all the others are not. Please let me know if and how I am wrong."

The same way anyone else does: we weigh the evidence and attempt to come to a correct conclusion. It's all that anyone can do.

What you see here is the end result, for the most part, and not the process. So as I said in my last post, beware of post hoc ergo proctor hoc reasoning. Just because we endorse different conclusions, it does not mean we did not (or would not) consider the findings and views behind a different conclusion.

Nic said...

Tom - I agree with you a 100%, but might add that some of those that are highly skeptical may also be advancing a political agenda.

SM - I don't thump my chest; I'm just curious on how you could explain all of those 928 papers as being 'junk science.' I've not defended global warming, I've just defended the science and research behind it from being called junk... and I do so on both sides of the aisle

Paul - I didn't read your whole response, but I'm not expecting people to acknowledge something simple because I want them to. I only wish that people would be a little more humble, especially in matters concerning science because science has a way of humbling even the smartest of people.

Paul E. Zimmerman said...

Nic -

I can understand that, but you're coming across as telling people that they shouldn't say anything at all simply because they're not scientists. While a lot of scientists clearly could be in the know and probably do work directly with a wider array of information than the majority of us, we not being scientists does not mean that we cannot also grasp what is going on, what's relevant versus what is not, etc. Besides - that sort of thinking, that only scientists can know because they're scientists, and that the rest of us should be "humble" (submissive, really), is an appeal to authority, which is another logical fallacy.

April E. Coggins said...

Who is on your approved reading list? Perhaps I can find someone that you approve of and still agrees with me. I kinda thought that the art of an open mind was to consider other people's opinions, even though we may disagree them. Or is the truth found only in the 930 pages that you have deemed as unbiased?