Thursday, August 30, 2007

More denialist spin

Global warming deniers are all over a new study purporting to show that less than half of scientists endorse global warming. It's prominently linked at Drudge Report of course.

As you could probably guess there's some intensive spin here - as even the study admits, only 6% of the papers cited actually deny the existence of global warming, while 48% are 'neutral' 'refusing to state explicitly whether they accept or reject the hypothesis'. By this logic, the absence of scientific papers explicitly endorsing the First Law of Thermodynamics indicates a lack of belief in it's existence rather than, say, reflecting that scientists feel no need to explicitly state their belief in a widely accepted scientific consensus.

The study, by the way, is by a medical doctor specializing in endocrine surgery. What does his specialty have to do with climatology? Your guess is as good as mine.

Coincidentally, or perhaps not so coincidentally, we have this report from the Union of Concerned Scientists presented to the US Congress. It details how almost half of US government scientists report being pressured by the Bush administration to downplay global warming. If your job or funding can be threatened by explicitly accepting anthropogenic global warming that could certainly explain why such a statement may not be present in many papers by scientists who in fact have no doubt about its existence, couldn't it?

Despite this pressure US government scientists on Tuesday flatly blamed 2006's higher than average temperatures on greenhouse gases. Earlier this month British meteorologists predicted it would get even worse in coming years.


Aion said...

The reality is, you don't know what the real percentages are. And one reason you do not know, and can not know, is because people like yourself spend more time talking about how evil and bad "the denialists" are than you do about the details and particulars of GW.

You are part of a hostile enviornment that makes any and all dissent "denialism".

In doing so, you have undeminded scientific method. It is absolutely essential for scientific method and progress to not be hindered by petty politics of the day. A crucial element of proper scientific inquiry is the need to constantly challenge assumptions which are part of a hypothesis. The moment you state that all criticism of a hypothesis is "denialism" is the moment the hypothesis has become a dogma.

YOU intrepret the lack of an explicit statement in 48% of a specific group of papers to be proof of not feeling a need to explicitly state a belief in "a widely accepted consensus". This is just as dishonest and obviously false as stating that it is evidence of the contrary.

Then you go on to talk about The Union of Concerned Scientists complainign that "almost half" of government employed scientists report being pressured to downplay GW. So what about the other half ?

I think most of us interested in scientific integrity are a little tired of both political sides to the issue, and wish you'd both just shut the hell up about each other and start writing about the data, what IS the data, how IS it being intrepreted, and what research is being done now ?

The truth is, if there were definitive proof of man induced GW, you wouldnt be spending so much time complainging about detractors as you would talking about the mountain of proof you supposedly have.

Cliff said...

"This is just as dishonest and obviously false as stating that it is evidence of the contrary."

So you agree that it's 'dishonest and obviously false' to characterize this study as showing that 'Less Than Half of all Published Scientists Endorse Global Warming Theory'? That was pretty much my point. You seem to be upset that I agree with you.

"The truth is, if there were definitive proof of man induced GW, you wouldnt (sic) be spending so much time complainging(sic) about detractors as you would talking about the mountain of proof you supposedly have."

The mountains of proof are there and unambiguously support the consensus that anthropogenic global warming is real. The planet is warming and we are the cause. I noticed you don't respond to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report issued today flatly blaming higher temperatures in 2006 on greenhouse gases or the British Meteorology Office report predicting that the effects would worsen in the coming years, both of which I mentioned in the post.

Just the latest additions to the top of the mountain that deniers desperately wish wasn't clearly there for all to see.

There's rational, real scientific dissent and there's shoddy, dishonest hackwork by tiny minorities of kooks using climate studies by endocrinologists or Larouchians and hacks funded by oil companies with direct financial stakes in sowing non-existent 'dissent'. When the overwhelming majority of climate change denial ceases to come from the latter camps, then deniers get to complain about others 'undermining the scientific method'. Till then they are engaging in spin worthy of Goebbels line about repeating big lies loudly and often enough to overwhelm the truth.

By the way, who I am and what I have to say is backed up by my real name, my background and a clear history on this blog going back a year and a half. Who you are is an alias and an empty blogger profile.

Which of us has greater credibility when using words like 'integrity'?

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