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(Cross-posted from OpenLeft)

British MD Makes Shocking Discovery: Climate Scientists Newly Doubtful About Holocaust!

A network of anti-global warming activists is gearing up for yet another assault on the scientific consensus that global warming is real, and has a significant human-caused component So far, the network has visible nodes in Senator James Inhofe's Environmental and Public Works (EPW) Committee Minority Staff, in the tech blogosphere, and in a fringe science journal devoted to pushing denialist views.

Their chosen vehicle is a not-yet-published paper claiming to "update" and essentially overturn historian of science Naomi Oreskes 2004 finding that there was no opposition to the consensus view in a representative sample of 928 peer-reviewed articles whose abtracts she surveyed.  Yet, despite the secrecy and overblown claims, enough of the contents have already spilled out to discredit the study.  One paper cited as rejecting the consensus was not even about climate science, but about public attitudes regarding climate science debates.

What’s This About The Holocaust???       JUMP!-->

Going even further, initial reports on the paper try to turn a purported passive lack of clear support for the consensus into an active refusal "to either accept or reject the hypothesis."  By that same logic, the scientists involved likewise "refuse to either accept or reject the hypothesis" that Nazi Germany killed six million Jews.  Somebody tell the Stormfront crowd!

Thus, yet another rightwing house of cards has fallen even before its debut. But it's up to us to make sure everyone knows the score.



[Arctic ice cap shrinks dramatically as global warming denialists prepare for new "surge."]

Background.


Naomi Oreskes is an historian of science whose PhD work was entirely concerned with understanding a major scientific controversy-the early 20th Century controversy over continental drift, and its rejection by American geologists.  [Book: The Rejection of Continental Drift: Theory and Method in American Earth Science].  She went on to edit a second book [Plate Tectonics: An Insider's History of the Modern Theory of the Earth] about the eventual triumph of continental drift, which came about only in the 1960s.


Thus, as Oreskes told me when I interviewed her in 2005 in the aftermath of Katrina, she was intimately familiar with what such controversies look like, and knew from her own research that what is going on in the field of climate science is nothing remotely like a fundamental scientific controversy.  In 2004, she set out to conduct an experiment to produce hard numbers to docuiment what she already knew as a trained observer.  The results were published in a brief article in Science magazine, "Beyond the Ivory Tower: The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change," (Science 3 December 2004, Vol. 306. no. 5702, p. 1686), and were expanded on in a book chapter published in 2007, "The scientific consensus on climate change: How do we know we're not wrong?" [PDF] (in Climate Change: What It Means for Us, Our Children, and Our Grandchildren, edited by Joseph F. C. DiMento and Pamela Doughman, MIT Press, pp. 65-99.)


In her article, Oreskes first took note of the existing consensus, and its expression in a variety of forms through public statements by major scientific bodies with relevant expertise and responsibility.  She said:

The scientific consensus is clearly expressed in the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Created in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environmental Programme, IPCC's purpose is to evaluate the state of climate science as a basis for informed policy action, primarily on the basis of peer-reviewed and published scientific literature (3). In its most recent assessment, IPCC states unequivocally that the consensus of scientific opinion is that Earth's climate is being affected by human activities: "Human activities ... are modifying the concentration of atmospheric constituents ... that absorb or scatter radiant energy. ... [M]ost of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations" [p. 21 in (4)].

Oreskes then went on to cite other organizations who had explicitly supported the IPCC-identified consensus, including the National Academy of Sciences (quoting from its report, Climate Change Science: An Analysis of Some Key Questions), the American Meteorological Society, the American Geophysical Union, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.


From this starting point, it's clear to anyone who understands how science works that there is already a clearly visible consensus. Anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change is real, and is recognized by an impressive array of relevant scientific bodies.  The only real question is, "How strong is this consensus?  Are there any serious challenges to it?"  This is the question that Oreskes set out to investigate. Science being what it is, there are virtually always naysayers about, if one looks hard enough.  So what about them?  How widespread are they, and do they have any merit?


Oreskes herself put like this:

The drafting of such reports and statements involves many opportunities for comment, criticism, and revision, and it is not likely that they would diverge greatly from the opinions of the societies' members. Nevertheless, they might downplay legitimate dissenting opinions. That hypothesis was tested by analyzing 928 abstracts, published in refereed scientific journals between 1993 and 2003, and listed in the ISI database with the keywords "climate change" (9).


The 928 papers were divided into six categories: explicit endorsement of the consensus position, evaluation of impacts, mitigation proposals, methods, paleoclimate analysis, and rejection of the consensus position. Of all the papers, 75% fell into the first three categories, either explicitly or implicitly accepting the consensus view; 25% dealt with methods or paleoclimate, taking no position on current anthropogenic climate change. Remarkably, none of the papers disagreed with the consensus position.


Admittedly, authors evaluating impacts, developing methods, or studying paleoclimatic change might believe that current climate change is natural. However, none of these papers argued that point.

Two points need to be stressed here:  First, as already noted, Oreskes was not proving that there is a consensus on human-caused climate change.  The existence of that consensus had already been proven by the statements of the relevant scientific bodies she cited.  Rather, Oreskes was demonstrating the length, depth and breadth of that consensus.  It did not emerge as a result of research during the 1990s, but was present from the very beginning of the period she studied, and it was sufficiently broad and deep that she found no dissenting articles in a survey of 928 abtracts drawn from a broadly-defined search using an inclusive database.


Oreskes herself explained the state of the science she was describing in the book chapter cited above:

[T]o say that global warming is real and happening now is not the same as agreeing about what will happen in the future. Much of the continuing debate in the scientific community involves the likely rate of future change. A good analogy is evolution. In the early twentieth century, paleontologist The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change George Gaylord Simpson introduced the concept of ''tempo and mode'' to describe questions about the manner of evolution-how fast and in what manner evolution proceeded. Biologists by the mid-twentieth century agreed about the reality of evolution, but there were extensive debates about its tempo and mode. So it is now with climate change. Virtually all professional climate scientists agree on the reality of humaninduced climate change, but debate continues on tempo and mode.

Second, Oreskes was not claiming that there were no published papers disputing the consensus.  Historians of science are well aware that small pockets of dissenting views can often be found when there is no serious challenge to the consensus view within a field.  This often happens, for example, when a few die-hard proponents of an earlier view simply refuse to ever accept a newly-established consensus.  They may still be respected, and public occassionally, but no one is newly pursuaded by their work.


Thus, it would have been perfectly undertstandable to find a small sample of dissenting articles, and such could still exist, since Oreskes was examining a representative sample, not the entire universe of peer-reviewed papers.  But the sample was sufficiently large that the absence of any dissenting papers was surely significant: Whatever objections there may be to the consensus, they do not play a significant role in deliberations within the field.  


Indeed, in the book chapter, Oreskes wrote:

The total number of papers published over the last ten years having anything at all to do with climate change is probably over ten thousand, and no doubt some of the authors of the other over nine thousand papers have expressed skeptical or dissenting views. But the fact that the sample turned up no dissenting papers at all demonstrates that any remaining professional dissent is now exceedingly minor.

There was a subsequent attempt to challenge her work was mounted by Benny Peiser, who claimed that Oreskes had misclassified 34 papers that challenged the conensus.  His claim was immediately criticized, and scaled back, but it took a full year for him to admit that he was wrong about at least 33 of the 34 papers-97%. [Wrap-up summary with links here. Significantly, denialists continue to pretend that Peiser somehow undermined Oreskes' credibility.]


Claims Of A Consensus Overturned


Now a much more ambitious-sounding challenge to Oreskes' work has been mounted, headlined by the claim that a majority of climate scientists no longer support the consensus.  To anyone who understands the story so far, this claim is clearly absurd.  If true, it would be very big news indeed.  It would mean that the IPCC, the American Meteorological Society, the American Geophysical Union, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science had all been wrong, and had now reversed their positions.


Of course, this is nonsense.  Nothing of the sort has occured.


If anything, evidence has reached a new crescendo of intensity since Oreskes first published, and even the Bush Administration has reluctantly backtracked modestly from its hardline opposition-though not from doing its best to suppress the science involved.  [They are now trying to implement a system of high-level security clearances, including extensive FBI background checks on climate scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Goddard Space Flight Center, for example-LINK.] But ignoring the fundamental framework of agreement that Oreskes noted, the new paper claims that an analysis of peer-reviewed literature since 2004 shows much lower levels of support for the consensus view, and much higher levels of dissent.


Given that there has been no erosion of the existing consensus, the most likely explanation is that the new study is simply flawed.  That it either does not follow the same protocols that Oreskes used, and thus cannot be compared, or that it codes papers erroniously, or both.


In fact, despite the fact that only true believers have seen the paper so far (and only two people, apparently, have written about it), we have evidence that the new study is flawed in both ways.


The New Studies Flaws, Part 1: Bad Coding


So far, we have only a small set of examples to look at that supposedly examplify rejection of the consensus.  These appear in an online paper, "Consensus"? What "Consensus"? Among Climate Scientists, the Debate Is Not Over by The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley (July 2007).  In this paper, we're told how superior the new work by Schulte is.  For example, we're told, "Unlike Oreskes, who does not quote even one of the 928 papers upon which her analysis was based, Schulte cites some of the counter-consensual papers from his sample."  Of course, such citations are not a normal part of scientific protocol, where investigator integrity is assumed.  But in this case, we're fortunate, since it saves so much time.


The third such example given is particularly telling:

Leiserowitz (2005) reports -


"results from a national study (2003) that examined the risk perceptions and connotative meanings of global warming in the American mind and found that Americans perceived climate change as a moderate risk that will predominantly impact geographically and temporally distant people and places. This research also identified several distinct interpretive communities, including naysayers and alarmists, with widely divergent perceptions of climate change risks. Thus, 'dangerous' climate change is a concept contested not only among scientists and policymakers, but among the American public as well."

Clearly, this paper has nothing at all to say about climate science per se--and thus cannot represent a rejection of the consensus.  It is a paper about attitudes regarding climate science.  Any lingering doubt whatsoever is easily resolved by looking at the paper itself, available here in PDF.  If Schulte thinks this paper disputes the concensus, he is clearly incapable of the basic analytical task that his work requires.  What's more, The Viscount Monckton is similarly disqualified, since he passed this on as a purported example of Schulte getting the goods on Oreskes.


Blogger Tim Lambert, an Australian computer scientist who blogs about politicized scientific issues, goes even farther in an incisive post, "Classifying abstracts on global climate change", analyzing all seven papers:

...three of them really so reject the consensus.


Cao just says that there are uncertainties in our understanding of the carbon cycle. Leiserowitz just studied public opnion of the risks of climate change. Moser was not one of the 576 papers. Lai et al ends up implicitly endorsing the consensus by suggesting that reducing CO2 emissions will reduce global warming.


The three that do reject the consensus are Gerhard, which was published in the American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin; Shaviv arguing for cosmic rays, which doesn't explain how they could make a difference over the past 50 years when the cosmic rayflux hasn't changed over that period; and Zhen-Shan and Xian, which is just a rubbish paper that should not have been published. (What is the next number in this sequence? 60. Their answer is 60.)

So, a 42% accuracy rate in coding papers.  Not exactly ready for peer review.  And these are presumably the best examples he has.


Not only that, but the first few commentators to Lambert's post raised questions about two of the three identified as rejecting the consensus.  As a member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists noted:

The Gerhard (2004) paper from the AAPG Bulletin is in a section of the journal called "Geohorizons" described as: 'Geohorizons papers focus on current technical methodologies and should be written for the general readership rather than for a limited audience of experts in a given field. (see Gerhard's article here).


So, it is essentially a review article. I would not describe it as a "research paper". If I were doing a compilation of climate research papers, this would not be on the list.

Another commentator remarked:

Zhen-Shan and Xian indeed looks shaky, but it's not 100% clear to me from the abstract that it's necessarily a challenge to the consensus. In a strict sense perhaps, but a bit like the apparently much-superior Tsonis paper, it argues that the anthropogenic signal is overlaid on natural climate cycles, and (diverging somewhat from Tsonis, who finds a smaller-amplitude natural signal) that the amplitude of the anthro signal hasn't yet gotten to the point that it overwhelms the natural cycle.

Thus, we really only have one of seven papers that unambiguously meets the criteria of explicitly rejecting the consensus view.  That's a 6-out-of-7, 86% error rate. With that sort of stupendous error rate, nothing claimed for the paper should be believed.  There is simply no reason to trust anything about it.


The New Studies Flaws, Part 2: Changed Protocols


In her original study, Oreskes sorted the papers as follows:

The 928 papers were divided into six categories: explicit endorsement of the consensus position, evaluation of impacts, mitigation proposals, methods, paleoclimate analysis, and rejection of the consensus position.

As for the results, Oreskes wrote:

Of all the papers, 75% fell into the first three categories, either explicitly or implicitly accepting the consensus view; 25% dealt with methods or paleoclimate, taking no position on current anthropogenic climate change. Remarkably, none of the papers disagreed with the consensus position.

In contrast, Monckton presents both the abstract of Dr. Schulte's paper, and what he claims is a table of results. The table by itself is inconclusive-it could simply be one way among several of analyzing the data-but if it is indicative of Schulte's primary coding protocol, it is clearly incompatible with Oreskes', which makes any direct comparison of their results utterly impossible:

    Abstracts on ISI Web of ScienceOreskes (2004) Schulte's review
    Period under review:1993 to 20032004 to 2007
    Quantity of documents reviewed: 928 documents539 papers
    Mean annual publication rate: 84.3 documents.yr -1 254.6 (+201%)
    Explicit endorsement of the consensus: Not stated7%(38 papers)
    Explicit or implicit endorsement: 75%45% (244 papers)
    Explicit rejection of the consensus 0%1.3%(7 papers)
    Explicit or implicit rejection:0%6% (32 papers)
    New data / observations on climate change:Not stated24% (127 papers)
    New research on the consensus question:Not stated2%(13 papers)
    Quantitative evidence for the consensus:Not stated0%(no papers)
    Mention of "catastrophic" climate change:Not stated0%(one paper)

While it's certainly possible that this is a secondary table, supplmenting a primary one meant to show the two results in direct head-to-head comparison, it is still troubling in at least four ways.


First, it makes no attempt to be comprehensive.  Neither of the columns adds up to 100%.  Even a secondary table in a serious research paper ought to have its columns sum to 100%, with appropriate catch-all categories for those items not being specifically focused on.


Second, because the columns don't sum to 100%, it's not even possible to tell if the categories are meant to be mutually exclusive.  Are papers categorized under "New data / observations on climate change" excluded from "Explicit or implicit endorsement:"? Included? Some included, some not?  And, in any case, why?


Third, although it's impossible to say without seeing the underlying abstracts referred to, but it seems exceeedingly likely that most if not all of those categorized under "New data / observations on climate change" could reasonably be categorized as implicitly endorsing the consensus.  The reason is simple: the consensus has been in place for quite some time now, and is very broadly shared.  If someone makes observations that conflict with the consensus, that's news.  Observations that confirm it are not.  Therefore silence is generally indicative of implicit endorsement of the consensus.


What's more, what looks like silence to the untrained eye is very often not.  Experts in the field are the best at picking up implicit messages, while trained historians such as Oreskes are capable of learning to read such messages nearly as well.  However, a medical doctor with no such interpretative training is exceedingly unlikely to pick up such implicit messages.  The chance of subtley misreading such papers is high-especially given the evidence of gross misreadings in the section above.


Fourth, why is there a category for "Mention of 'catastrophic' climate change"?  This was certainly not part of Oreskes' original protocol, nor is it representative of how climate scientists ordinarily might be expected to write.  It is, however, a direct reflection of the denialist's agenda-the setting up of a straw man.


The combination of these four observations creates the distinct impression that even if this is a secondary table, it is shows troubling signs of unreliability at best, as well as indications of being created for purposes that are much more likely to be propagandistic than to be objectively informative.  Given that we haven't seen the whole paper, it is impossible to be certain, but this is not a good sign of what lies within.  There is a very strong probability that the high level claim that fewer than half the papers now endorse the consensus is simply wrong due to methodological errors.


In any event, the further claim that lack of evidence is evidence of lack has no support whatsoever.  Indeed, it is advanced as a logical sleight-of-hand.  This brings us to our next topic-the nature of posts and sites promoting this story.


But this post is already more than long enough.  That will have to wait for Part II.

Originally posted to Paul Rosenberg on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 09:35 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  These Nutballs Never Stop, (15+ / 0-)

    And their methods are depressing similar no matter what it is they're lying about.

  •  Well done. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Paul Rosenberg, DWG, WayneNight

    Recommended, hotlisted, and subscribed.  I can hardly wait for part 2.

    So many in our country today fail to see the facts and only find the emotion or the entertainment.  Too many are not able to see through the lies even if they read the words.  We are lost if we fail to keep hammering home the truth.  The truth is a large hammer that will save us in the end.

    Never In Our Names "all you have to do to qualify for human rights is to be human."

    by possum on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 09:37:18 AM PDT

  •  Excellent job (5+ / 0-)

    I cannot help but laugh when neocons flap their lips about variability in talking about climate science and yet interpret a one month improvement in deaths in Iraq as incontrovertible proof.  

    Thanks for the impressive research in putting this diary together.

    A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. - Aristotle

    by DWG on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 09:42:07 AM PDT

  •  Two kinds of denialists... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Paul Rosenberg, possum, WayneNight
    Folks who espouse views that are clearly contrary to the established facts seem to me to fall into two major camps.

    The first are those whose own invalidated theories refuse to acknowledge they were wrong. This is the "HIV doesn't cause AIDS" crowd.

    The second are those whose personal or political views and/or livelihoods are tied up in the requirement to deny, lie, dupe, and generally delay any meaningful action because it's against the financial interests of their supporters. This is the camp that says things like "The case against tobacco isn't proven".

    These days, even the Bush administration acknowledges global warming is occurring. They just don't want to do anything about it because it will mean a penny a share less dividend for ExxonMobil, which funds the "deny, lie, dupe" denialists.

     

    The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it -- GB Shaw

    by kmiddle on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 09:59:46 AM PDT

    •  I'm Not Sure Where This Fits, But... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wu ming, possum

      I think it's a matter of identity politics.

      Where I'm going with this piece--which is probably headed for three parts--is that there's a similar mentality all across the wingnut nation.  Just as the 101st Keyboard Brigade is braver than any mere realworld combat vet, the Mouseclique Scientists are more rational and objective than any Nobel Prize-winner you ever met.

      I think this is something slightly different than the "invalidated theories" crowd, because a lot of those attracted seem to have gotten onboard long after the theories were invalidated.  It has less to do with the theories themselves than with the battle of identities: "We're conservatives, therefore we're right about everything.  Liberals are wrong by definition."

      What do you think?

      •  Motives (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wu ming, possum, spiraltn

        "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it."
        Upton Sinclair

        It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his political identity depends on denying it.

        Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at http://solarray.blogspot.com/2006/03/solar-video.html

        by gmoke on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 10:21:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Identity politics... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Janet Strange, WayneNight
        like if I'm a Democrat and say a zebra is black with white stripes, my Republic opponent will automatically claim that the zebra is white with black stripes.

        Unfortunately, must of the political discourse these days follows this "if he says it, it's wrong" format.

        The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it -- GB Shaw

        by kmiddle on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 11:00:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not Quite (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wu ming, Janet Strange, WayneNight
          There has long been a deep and profound assymetry between liberals and conservatives, based simply on the fact that liberals believe in equality, while conservatives believe in hierarchy.

          While there's a certain overlay of symmetry simply from being involved in a political struggle, and from that struggle taking place in a two-party system, the deeper logic is not symmetrical, and we should never forget this.

          The very labels of "left" and "right" unfortunately contribute to this illusion.  It would be far more accurate to speak of "forward" and "back" or "up" and "down."

          At least calling ourselves "progressives" carries the implication of being "forward" vs. the conservatives' and reactionaries' "back."

          •  I think you're both right (0+ / 0-)

            Of course there's the fundamental difference of hierarchy vs equality as you say, but I came to this diary from bernardpliers one about Gang Signs, where I had just posted this comment. There's a real element of "if They are for it, then I'm ag'in it," too, as part of defining themselves as members of a group, and the group solidarity making an enemy, an "other," essential.

            I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction, of the Constitution. - Barbara Jordan

            by Janet Strange on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 10:23:39 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  But What's Fundamental? (0+ / 0-)
              I'm not saying there's no sense of group identity among Democrats--even though Will Rogers famously said, "I'm not a member of any organized party.  I'm a Democrat!"  Nor am I saying there's no sense of group identity among liberals--even though Robert Frost famously said, "A liberal is a man too broadminded to take his own side in a quarrel."

              But what I am saying is that the group identity factor is significantly stronger and more visceral among conservatives for a variety of reasons--and hence the resonance of the quotes above.

              Arguably the most significant of those reasons is the one I already cited--that conservatives are about hierarchy, and thus they believe in a different set of rules for themselves and for everyone else.  But there are a number of different traits that have related tribalizing effects, as noted in the meta-analysis published a couple of years ago, "Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition".

              Abstract:

              Political conservatism as motivated social cognition.

              Jost JT, Glaser J, Kruglanski AW, Sulloway FJ.

              Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, California 94305, USA. jost_john@gsb.stanford.edu

              Analyzing political conservatism as motivated social cognition integrates theories of personality (authoritarianism, dogmatism-intolerance of ambiguity), epistemic and existential needs (for closure, regulatory focus, terror management), and ideological rationalization (social dominance, system justification). A meta-analysis (88 samples, 12 countries, 22,818 cases) confirms that several psychological variables predict political conservatism: death anxiety (weighted mean r = .50); system instability (.47); dogmatism-intolerance of ambiguity (.34); openness to experience (-.32); uncertainty tolerance (-.27); needs for order, structure, and closure (.26); integrative complexity (-.20); fear of threat and loss (.18); and self-esteem (-.09). The core ideology of conservatism stresses resistance to change and justification of inequality and is motivated by needs that vary situationally and dispositionally to manage uncertainty and threat.

      •  Deniers (0+ / 0-)

        ...Mouseclique Scientists are more rational and objective than any Nobel Prize-winner you ever met.

        The main subject of this piece is the problem of climate change. This is a contentious subject, involving politics and economics as well as science. The science is inextricably mixed up with politics. Everyone agrees that the climate is changing, but there are violently diverging opinions about the causes of change, about the consequences of change, and about possible remedies. I am promoting a heretical opinion, the first of three heresies that I will discuss in this piece.

        My first heresy says that all the fuss about global warming is grossly exaggerated. Here I am opposing the holy brotherhood of climate model experts and the crowd of deluded citizens who believe the numbers predicted by the computer models. Of course, they say, I have no degree in meteorology and I am therefore not qualified to speak. But I have studied the climate models and I know what they can do. The models solve the equations of fluid dynamics, and they do a very good job of describing the fluid motions of the atmosphere and the oceans. They do a very poor job of describing the clouds, the dust, the chemistry and the biology of fields and farms and forests. They do not begin to describe the real world that we live in. The real world is muddy and messy and full of things that we do not yet understand. It is much easier for a scientist to sit in an air-conditioned building and run computer models, than to put on winter clothes and measure what is really happening outside in the swamps and the clouds. That is why the climate model experts end up believing their own models.

        There is no doubt that parts of the world are getting warmer, but the warming is not global. I am not saying that the warming does not cause problems. Obviously it does. Obviously we should be trying to understand it better. I am saying that the problems are grossly exaggerated. They take away money and attention from other problems that are more urgent and more important, such as poverty and infectious disease and public education and public health, and the preservation of living creatures on land and in the oceans, not to mention easy problems such as the timely construction of adequate dikes around the city of New Orleans. [Freeman Dyson]

        There are more than two sides to the climate change debate. It isn't just deniers against true believers. There are many reputable scientists who say that anthropogenic carbon dioxide has only a small effect on climate and should not be addressed with grand and ultra-expensive plans to drastically reorder society. How do you describe the many real scientists who say that anthropogenic global warming is being blown out of proportion?

        •  And How Many Peer-Reviewed Papers Has Dyson Done? (0+ / 0-)
          It's the deniers who portray it as "just deniers against true believers."  In the real world, as Oreskes pointed out:
          Virtually all professional climate scientists agree on the reality of humaninduced climate change, but debate continues on tempo and mode.
          In short, there are a wide range of views, and significant differences of approach that the deniers misleading lump together as "true believers," as if all those who are doing the hardest thinking weren't doing any thinking at all.

          Dyson:

          It is much easier for a scientist to sit in an air-conditioned building and run computer models, than to put on winter clothes and measure what is really happening outside in the swamps and the clouds. That is why the climate model experts end up believing their own models.
          Cheap shot, much?

          It's sad to see Dyson making such a fool of himself with this sort of yahoo comment that one might expect from a GOP Congressmember.  People do what their skills, training and background prepare them for, and what they can get funding for.

          There are plenty of people doing field studies.  Just as there are people working on improving models, as well as running the models we already have.  But the models people were using 20 years--crude though they were--have done a pretty good job of predicting what's happened between then and now.  That's a very stong indication that our current models--which are based on refininig the earlier models--are on the right track.  And what does Dyson have to offer to the contrary?  Snide remarks, that's what.

          It would make a huge difference if there were actually a coherent body of contradictory research.  But there isn't.  And that's what Oreskes has shown.  It's what Shulte tries--and fails--to create the illusion of.

          •  Getting warmer (0+ / 0-)

            It's not the contradictory research that says global warming does not exist that interests me. I'm interested in the research that says that sea level will probably rise only a foot in the next hundred years, global mean temperature will rise about one degree in the next hundred years. That doesn't sound like it's out of the ordinary for past climate changes such as the one that preceded the Medieval Warm Period. Wouldn't it be far better to adapt to that change rather than make hugely expensive modifications to industrial society that may have no measurable effect on global warming?

            •  Wrong On All Counts (0+ / 0-)
              Leaving aside your willful selective misrepresentation of the predicted changes we face, the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, the most comprehensive economic analysis performed to date, projects a 1% GDP cost to deal with global warming, as opposed to a 20% GDP cost from failing to deal with it.

              In the public policy world--or anywhere else, for that matter--the cost/benefit calculus rarely gets as lopsided as that.

              Perhaps the most deep-seated reason that conservatives don't believe in global warming is because it forces them to face up to the inescapable fact of market failure--"big time," as our nation's #2 war criminal would say.  But environmental problems of all sorts are all about market failure.  And the sooner we grow up and admit the existence of market failures, the sooner--and cheaper--we can fix them.

              It's all about paying the true costs of things.

              •  Warmer still (0+ / 0-)

                I am skeptical of some of the assumptions used to come up with those numbers by Stern. Are you saying that all conservatives don't believe in global warming? That seems a stretch. Anyway, I'm a classical liberal, thank you very much.

                I'm not misrepresenting predicted changes. There really are scientists coming up with those numbers. Are you saying that their computer models are worse than models that predict much worse consequences? Why is that?

  •  Global warming and the Internet (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    possum

    Wow! Thank you Algore for inventing the internet and global warming!

    "If your not a liberal when your'e young, you have no heart. If your'e not a conservative when your old, you have no brain." Winston Churchill

    by gnarlyharley on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 10:28:26 AM PDT

  •  Continental Drift Was A Most Difficult Concept (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Janet Strange, WayneNight

    to accept unlike global warming.  The idea of floating continents challenged not only scientific orthodoxy of the time but the basic foundations of geological science. The jigsaw appearance of the continents was hardly a rational basis for a new theory anymore than the man in the moon would be for life on the moon.

    Not only does global warming have a rational basis but strong supporting data.  The counter argument is essentially, "I won't look."

    It is much the same with new genetic data on humans that flies in the face of prejudice and comfort and is therefore angrily rejected.

    Great diary.

    Best,  Terry

  •  I know Naomi (0+ / 0-)

    And she is very good at what she does and has a very good reputation among historians of science.

    This kind of work that illustrates why I decided to become an historian of science.  It's important to be able to have a broad view of this material in order to decipher meaningful patterns and make informed decisions in regards to policy, etc.

    Procrastination: Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now.

    by Linnaeus on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 07:47:01 AM PDT

  •  Read "Chicken Little", The Apple did it (0+ / 0-)

    You libs sure are funny. "The sky is falling, the sky is falling". Pretty funny until you wack jobs want to destroy the American/world economy over a fairy tale. Your Religious kool aid serving leader, Algore is still flying around in private jets and air conditioning 5 house at a time. I guess he bought a tree from his own carbon company to make him feel better. By the way, a little global warming would be beneficialfor most of the planet. Increased agriculure in places like Greenland.
    Until one of you zany lefties can tell me why the glaciers melted and formed the Great Lakes thousands of year ago I will never believe in man made Global Warming. Dinosaurs driving diesels?
    Oh, it wasn't the sky, it was an apple, idiots.

    •  Wrong, As Usual (0+ / 0-)
      Your complete inability to say anything about the underlying science is duly noted.

      Your demonological fixation on Al Gore is duly noted.

      Your inability to read my diary is noted.

      Your inability to respond to anything I actually say is duly noted.

      The Stern Review Report, which shows the economic wisdom of a prudent response to global warming is duly noted.

      Finally, as far as destoying the US economy is concerned, also duly noted is the fact that Democrats routinely trounce Republicans in economic performance.

      Have a nice day!

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