Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Campus Speaker: A Skeptical Take on “Global Warming”

From the College Republicans: a talk by Christopher Horner, best selling author and Global Warming skeptic, this Wednesday (tomorrow) in the Weasler Auditorium at 6:00 p.m.

More information on Horner can be found here.

Did your high school teacher (or maybe your Marquette professor of English or Sociology) make you watch “An Inconvenient Truth?”

Do you get all your news from the New York Times and PBS (we have a colleague who does this and is proud of the fact)?

Then you need to know about the other side. After all, why would anybody want to hear only one side of a debate?

Unless perhaps they are wedded to an orthodoxy, and are offended that anybody is even allowed to challenge it.

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28 Comments:

Anonymous scott said...

Just because one "side" says the sky is blue and the other "side" says it's red, that does't make it purple.

1:25 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

Scott, your answer rather begs the question.

You should come see this fellow. I'm sure questions from the floor will be accepted, and you can challenge him.

1:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess if you can't find anyone with a science background to tell you what you want to hear about science, the next best thing is someone who works for the (Exxon funded) Competitive Enterprise Institute.

And no, I never saw "An Inconvenient Truth" and don't really care what Al Gore has to say about the issue.

3:16 PM  
Blogger jimspice said...

Yep, this JD think-tanker is an authority, and it's every climate science organization and 95% of scientists in the world who have an agenda.

5:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does this guy have any peer-reviewed literature? No? Didn't think so. So he's too cowardly to submit work for peer-review, or too inept to be taken seriously by other scientists. Doesn't sound like anyone I'd waste my time on, personally.

As for global warming, denying it isn't going to make it go away. Wishful thinking isn't going to save the oceans from increasing acidity. 2010's coral die-off is the worst ever, even worse than the 2005 and 1998 die-offs. Nine of the hottest ten years ever recorded were in the last 10 years. Denial in the face of all the overwhelming evidence is why only Big Oil-funded 'scientists' are still in denial. No one else wants to look that mentally-challenged.

4:07 AM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

You folks ever hear of groupthink?

1:21 PM  
Anonymous Chris said...

Anyone planning on attending and keeping track of the number of climate change factoids Horner mentions?

Here he is on Fox News (at 6:07) repeating the "hide the decline" quote mine taken from one of the hacked e-mails:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P70SlEqX7oY#t=4m0s

Horner, you're doing a heck of a job.

12:08 AM  
Anonymous scott said...

I'm not a climate expert, nor am I likely to become one. If I'm called upon to make important decisions about such issues, I'm going to go with the preponderance of expert opinion on the subject. Real experts. Scientists who publish in peer-reviewed journals, not industry shills who take their case directly to the lay population.

The only way for this guy to impress me is to convince the experts. Anyone can sound reasonable and convincing when talking to non-experts like myself.

9:46 AM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

Anyone planning on attending and keeping track of the number of climate change factoids Horner mentions?

OK, was or was there not a Medieval Warm Period that the "hockey stick" concealed?

9:31 AM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

Chris,

Aren't you embarrassed by the "hide the decline" statement? Yes I know it was in just one series, but doesn't it say something about their mindset?

And how about conspiring to marginalize a journal that dared print an article critical of "global warming?"

I'm not asking you to admit there is no AGW, just that there is a bias here.

9:34 AM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

If I'm called upon to make important decisions about such issues, I'm going to go with the preponderance of expert opinion on the subject.

You don't know about academics. Any time you find a bunch of professors saying the same thing, you should suspect:

1. General liberal ideological bias.

2. Particular disciplinal biases. AGW serves to make climate scientists vastly more important, and in line for much larger grants, for example.

3. Groupthink. The vast majority of the "scientists" haven't actually published anything about AGW, but are just going along with their colleagues.

9:38 AM  
Blogger jimspice said...

John, do have a link to your CV. I'd like to get a feeling for your grasp of statistical methods. It might provide some insight into your take on this issue.

4:49 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

do have a link to your CV.

No, my CV is not online. And yes, I do know a lot of statistics -- at least the sort that social scientists use.

But your response sounds like an evasion.

So answer my question:

Was or was there not a Medieval Warm Period that the "hockey stick" concealed?

5:32 PM  
Anonymous Chris said...

John,

OK, was or was there not a Medieval Warm Period that the "hockey stick" concealed?

No.

Apparently, you're unaware that the so-called MWP was regional not global.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrKfz8NjEzU

Aren't you embarrassed by the "hide the decline" statement?

"Hide the decline" in this context doesn't mean what you claim it does (which is why your side is guilty of quote mining), rather it refers to the divergence of the tree ring data not temperature.

Aren't you embarrassed that your side disingenuously concealed the sharp increase in global temperature during the pro-denialist documentary The Great Global Warming Swindle?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boj9ccV9htk#t=7m5s

And how about conspiring to marginalize a journal that dared print an article critical of "global warming?"

Presumably, you're referring to the article that appeared in Climate Science by Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas which "didn’t present original research; instead, it was a literature review."

"Thirteen [climate scientists] authored a devastating critique of the work in the American Geophysical Union publication Eos. After seeing the critique, Climate Research editor-in-chief Hans von Storch decided he had to make changes in the journal’s editorial process. But when journal colleagues refused to go along, von Storch announced his resignation.

Several other Climate Research editors subsequently resigned over the Soon and Baliunas paper. Even journal publisher Otto Kinne eventually admitted that the paper suffered from serious flaws, basically agreeing with its critics."

http://www.csicop.org/specialarticles/show/deja_vu_all_over_again/

Aren't you embarrassed that your side is behaving increasingly like creationists?

In fact, most people who reject AGW also dismiss the theory of evolution.

Now that's embarrassing.

11:21 PM  
Anonymous Chris said...

At least he admits to being dishonest:

QUOTE ON

[Christopher] Horner talks about baselines used in climate trends. Why start in 1860? That was the end of the Little Ice Age. Of course the world has warmed since then. That's cheating with the baseline. At one point Horner refers to the "cooling" since 1998 -- a record-breaking year with a major El Niño event in the Pacific. He admits he is being disingenuous.

"We're playing the baseline game," Horner says.

QUOTE OFF

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/23/AR2006052301305_5.html

2:00 PM  
Blogger jimspice said...

Thanks Chris. I was thinking about replying, but it's becoming increasingly more tedious repeating the same thing over, and over and over and being ignored. The answers are all out there for anyone who would care to look, and who would be more capable of doing this research than a professional researcher.

Which brings me to the reason for my CV inquiry. I know Prof. McAdams, that the research for which you are most widely known is historic in nature. I also know that rigorous scientific methods were not really widely embraced in Poli Sci prior to the mid '80s or so. I thought perhaps you might have simply missed out on the stats revolution that would allow you to understand the more complicated climate research.

4:44 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

I've looked at the video, Chris, and it invokes Mann and his tree ring data to refute the Medieval Warm Period, but it's true ring data where he urged (or was urged) to "hide the decline."

Is it true or not that Greenland was once green?

"Thirteen [climate scientists] authored a devastating critique of the work in the American Geophysical Union publication Eos.

Oh, you are conceding that this journal was the object of a conspiracy. You just think they deserved it.

Aren't you embarrassed that your side is behaving increasingly like creationists?

In fact, most people who reject AGW also dismiss the theory of evolution.


OIC. You see this as a proxy for disputes over evolution.

Sorry, evolution has to stand on its on, and AGW also has to stand on its on.

You ought to be a bit more skeptical of scientists -- not the scientific method, but rather "science" as a system of social biases, and scientists who have all sort of ideological and material interests in certain theories.

5:31 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

but it's becoming increasingly more tedious repeating the same thing over,

You guys are just arguing by assertion, so of course people won't be convinced.

You ought to quit huffing and puffing and getting irate that anybody disagrees with you, and try to debate rationally.


It's as though you were some sort of very orthodox bishops who are agast that anybody could challenge the authory of Received Doctrine.

5:34 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

"Thirteen [climate scientists] authored a devastating critique of the work in the American Geophysical Union publication Eos. After seeing the critique, Climate Research editor-in-chief Hans von Storch decided he had to make changes in the journal’s editorial process. But when journal colleagues refused to go along, von Storch announced his resignation.

Several other Climate Research editors subsequently resigned over the Soon and Baliunas paper. Even journal publisher Otto Kinne eventually admitted that the paper suffered from serious flaws, basically agreeing with its critics."


Oh, my! Some journal publishes a heterodox article, and all hell breaks loose.

Welcome to the Global Warming Inquisition!

So the editor recanted, did he?

A lot of people recanted before the Inquisition. Bad things happened to those who did not.

7:13 PM  
Blogger jimspice said...

"Is it true or not that Greenland was once green?"

See? This is exactly what I'm talking about. This is the same, tired old talking point that is trotted out at every conservative denier blog in the world. It has been widely discussed and soundly debunked and yet keeps coming back nonetheless, as though repeating a falsehood ad nauseam will somehow confer legitimacy.

No. It is not true. The Greenland ice sheet is at least 400,000 to 800,000 years old, as we know from ice core data. It may have been a bit greener around the southern edges during the medieval warming period, but it was never some temperate refuge. The name itself was likely a PR plot by Erik the Red to attract settlers.

But this is really beside the point. Even though Greenland may have been greener, that has nothing to do with current warming trends. The warming of the past was due to solar cycles, a force which cannot explain current warming. Only greenhouse gases accounts for these recent changes.

And please, please, please, before you come back with some counter arguments about lost WWII fighter squadrons, please realize that these too have been debunked.

John, I'm familiar with the low station to which you assign JFK assassination conspiracists. How are AGW deniers any different?

2:50 AM  
Anonymous Chris said...

John,

I've looked at the video, Chris, and it invokes Mann and his tree ring data to refute the Medieval Warm Period, but it's true ring data where he urged (or was urged) to "hide the decline."

If you're referring to Briffa's tree ring proxy, prepare to be disappointed in 3...2...1:

http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/06/dep_climate_on_mcintyres_trick.php

Mann's "Hockey Stick" has been replicated and strengthened by numerous independent studies, and was affirmed by the National Academy of Science. Of course, they're all in on the conspiracy, too, right?

No comment on the dishonest "hide the increase in global temperature" segment from The Great Global Warming Swindle? Fine, but you ought to make your students aware of it the next time you decide to screen the "documentary" which contains plenty of other factoids, too. Did the version you saw include the canard about volcanoes producing more CO2 in a year than all the forms of human activity (factories, cars, planes, etc.) combined? The producers of that "doc" are utterly shameless.

Is it true or not that Greenland was once green?

Honestly, on the subject of climate change, you're as full of factoids as any JFK conspiracy buff!

QUOTE ON

Firstly, Greenland is just a part of a single region and as such can not be assumed to represent any kind of global climate shift. See the article on the Medieval Warm Period for a global perspective on this time period. In short, the available proxy evidence indicates that globally warmth during this period was not particularly pronounced though certainly some regions may have experienced greater warming than others.

Secondly, a quick reality check shows that Greenland's ice cap is hundreds of thousands of years old and covers over 80% of that island. The vast majority of land not under an ice sheet is rock and permafrost in the far north. Just how different could it have been only 1000 years ago?

Here is a brief account of the Viking settlement, which was an actual historical development, based on the chapter on Vikings in Greenland in Jared Diamond's "Collapse".

Greenland was called Greenland by Erik the Red (was he red? :-) who was in exile and wanted to attract people to a new colony. He believed that you should give a land a good name so that people want to go there! It very likely was a bit warmer when he landed for the first time than it was when the last settlers starved due to a number of factors, climate change, or at least some bad weather, a major one. But it was never lush and their existence was always harsh and meagre, especially due to the Viking's disdain for other peoples and other ways of living. They attempted to live a European lifestyle in an arctic climate side by side with the Inuit who easily out survived them.

QUOTE OFF

http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2006/03/greenland-used-to-be-green.php

6:27 AM  
Anonymous Chris said...

John,

Oh, you are conceding that this journal was the object of a conspiracy.

How dare those 13 climate scientists publish a paper pointing out the flaws in Soon and Baliunas's article (which, as I said, contained absolutely no original research)! That's impolite. Better to just let poor scholarship remain unchallenged, right?

Apparently, you don't care how flawed a scientific paper is as long as it reflects your views. That says everything one needs to know about your mindset on this issue.

OIC. You see this as a proxy for disputes over evolution.

Anyone who doesn't accept a theory as well-established as evolution has no credibility on any scientific matter because it shows that they refuse to accept evidence that challenges their (religious) worldview. Of course, if we excluded all the creationists there would be almost no one left on your side which is telling.

Sorry, evolution has to stand on its on, and AGW also has to stand on its on.

For your side, the issue has nothing to do with evidence, it's all about politics and religion, which explains why someone like Republican Congressman John Shimkus would consider it appropriate to read passages from the Book of Genesis(!) during a government hearing in order to "refute" climate change claims. You couldn't make this stuff up, you really couldn't. Who needs SNL with comic relief from idiots like Shimkus?

You ought to be a bit more skeptical of scientists.

Physician, heal thyself.

You ought to be a lot more skeptical of the so-called "skeptics" you listen to, and stop regurgitating their anti-science claims without first checking to see what the other side has to say on a particular issue. It would save you a great deal of embarrassment.

6:40 AM  
Anonymous Chris said...

John,

Oh, my! Some journal publishes a heterodox article, and all hell breaks loose.

Sorry, John, but your attempts to distract from the important scientific issues at hand (and the accompanying evidence) won't work, no matter how much you jump around shouting "heterodoxy" and "Inquisition." It just makes you look like a comical performer in an anti-science sideshow.

The article by Soon and Baliunas contained serious flaws which other scientists rightly brought to light. After reading the critique, editor-in-chief Hans von Storch obviously realized there were problems with his journal's peer review process and wanted it reformed. When such reforms weren't forthcoming, he resigned which was the intellectually honest thing to do.

Clearly, he has much higher standards than you do when it comes to scientific papers. In fact, your standards seem to be virtually non-existent as you think creationist claims deserve to be published alongside legitimate scientific articles.

6:47 AM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

but your attempts to distract from the important scientific issues at hand (and the accompanying evidence) won't work, no matter how much you jump around shouting "heterodoxy" and "Inquisition."

No, you are invoking the authority of climate scientists. Evidence that they are a narrow band of orthodox believers who don't tolerate dissent throws doubt on their authority.

Journals publish controversial articles all the time. When it happens in political science, there might be a bunch of replies or rejoinders published in a future issue.

But editors are not sacked for publishing something controversial. Review processes are not changed to prevent heterodoxy from ever appearing in the pages of the journal again.

You seem to have the same mentality as the Inquisition: heresy is not to be tolerated, since it's "error" and "error has no rights."

you think creationist claims deserve to be published alongside legitimate scientific articles.

No, I think Intelligent Design is a possibility that intellectually honest and open-minded people should consider.

But you are a dogmatic protector of the orthodoxy on that too.

9:41 AM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

For your side, the issue has nothing to do with evidence, it's all about politics and religion,

No, Chris, you are describing yourself.

For you, science is a religion. Therefore any challenge to the scientific orthodoxy is something you react to like some super-orthodox bishop (or Muslim Imam) would react to an atheist.

Your insistence that evolution and chimate change are essentially the same issue gives it away.

Somebody who believes heretical thoughts on one thing is likely to believe heretical thoughts on other things, you seem to believe.

And heresy is not to be allowed.

9:47 AM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

It may have been a bit greener around the southern edges during the medieval warming period,

Glad you admit that such a thing existed. Nobody thinks the entire place was lush and green.

The warming of the past was due to solar cycles, a force which cannot explain current warming. Only greenhouse gases accounts for these recent changes.

Glad you admit to solar cycles.

The more stuff like that you concede, the harder it becomes to be so sure that carbon dioxide is responsible for current temperatures (which even warmers admit have not gotten significantly warmer over the last 15 years).

9:54 AM  
Anonymous Chris said...

John,

No, you are invoking the authority of climate scientists. Evidence that they are a narrow band of orthodox believers who don't tolerate dissent throws doubt on their authority.

If you're simply going reject all the evidence, even that which is overwhelmingly accepted by climate scientists, in many cases even by most "skeptics," then I don't see how you're acting any differently than a JFK conspiracy buff who claims every piece of evidence pointing to Oswald's guilt was manufactured, merely another part of the so-called "cover-up," and as you know I don't debate with JFK conspiracy buffs anymore. I found that it just wasn't worth the effort. Joel stopped for the same reason. Life is too short.


No, I think Intelligent Design is a possibility that intellectually honest and open-minded people should consider.

Even the Discovery Institute admitted in a private document (The Wedge Document) that was later leaked to the public that ID is Creationism repackaged. Then there is the fact that the leading ID textbook was found to be created simply by using the search and replace feature on a Creation "Science" textbook, removing religious words and replacing them with ones that sounded more "scientific." When this fact was revealed by Barbara Forrest at the Dover Trial in 2005, it was a huge bombshell that led to the pro-ID side losing the case:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-tk7MkHKtI

Your insistence that evolution and chimate change are essentially the same issue gives it away.

People who reject evolution behave in the same way as global warming denialists so the comparison is perfectly valid: they ignore evidence that contradicts their viewpoint, use the same tactics to try and get their propaganda published in peer reviewed journals, continually spout factoids (refusing to admit they are wrong when said factoids are debunked) and engage in quote mining. The fact that global warming denialists tend to also be creationists makes the connection even more obvious.

As for your comments directed at Jim regarding solar cycles and warming, as I already pointed out -- and which you conveniently chose to ignore -- in the "documentary" The Great Global Warming Swindle, your side CONCEALED the fact (disingenuously removing 20 years or more of data from a graph) that when solar activity DROPPED SHARPLY in 1980, global temperatures continued to RISE RAPIDLY, completely contradicting their hypothesis. Sadly, this sort of dishonesty is par for the course among denialists.

I see you also refuse to concede that your beliefs about Greenland are based on a well-known factoid. Oh well, at least lurkers can read what I wrote and decide for themselves who has presented the most compelling case.

As I said in the e-mail I sent you, this will be my final comment, at least on a scientific-related issue so feel free to have the last word.

1:53 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

If you're simply going reject all the evidence, even that which is overwhelmingly accepted by climate scientists, in many cases even by most "skeptics,"

Actually, no, I'm happy to consider the opinions of "skeptics" who don't want to "hide the decline," who don't conspire against journals that publish heterodox articles, and who don't conspire on how to withhold data from other scientists who might disagree with them.

But those are people who are vilified by the Global Warming Establishment.

And chortling over the death of somebody on the other side doesn't make me respect the East Anglia crowd either.

Even the Discovery Institute admitted in a private document (The Wedge Document) that was later leaked to the public that ID is Creationism repackaged.

Now you are reminding me of a JFK conspiracy buff.

There simply is a huge difference between a "young earth creationist" and somebody who believes in an Intelligence that guided the development of the universe.

Or maybe just contrived physical laws so that homo sapiens would be the result.

The latter views are consistent with the scientific evidence.

Your claim reminds me of the McCarthyite right, which could not see the difference between liberals and communists.

Conclusion

But let's remember how this thread began.

I posted a notice that a global warming skeptic was going to appear on the Marquette campus, and said that people who had heard only one side should go hear him.

I even suggested that they might want to ask critical questions.

And you (and other posters) got irate.

Global Warming seems to be a religion. Believers are seen as saving people from hell and damnation, and skeptics to be doing the work of the Devil.

I'd like to see a debate on campus with both sides represented.

But since the campus liberals are not interested in any such thing, it's up the the College Republicans to present the other side.

Good for the College Republicsns.

11:28 PM  

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