Posted by: realengr | January 7, 2009

Global Warming: the New Religion of the New World Order

Hey, how’s that for a catchy title.  Actually I’ve been slightly involved in a little running text battle with a guy named ‘Spanky’ on the BROL board.  Usually I don’t attack anyone personally and strive to keep comments ‘impersonal’ but Spanky felt the need to attack myself and another BROL member about our AGW opinions and then used our religious beliefs and political beliefs as an excuse for other people involved in the discussion to ignore us.  A transparent attempt to discredit us.

I’ve replied to Spanky and he didn’t like it very well.  I received another post and the below text is my reply to him.  It’s much too long for BROL, so that’s why it is here.  Spanky’s comments are in italics.  Mine are in bold.  I’ve removed many of my comments that were personally directed.  I’ve got a poison pen and sometimes it gets out of control.  No need for that with civilized people……

They have already decided what they believe, and only pick out points that support their outright denial. There are for them no degrees of probability, no weighing and considering of any evidence unless it supports their position. I think this need to believe and the logical contortions required to hold it is a phenomenon almost as interesting as global warming itself. I have weighed the evidence and it is wanting. There’s a credibility gap that I will explore below.

But, as I said, for climate change deniers there is no weighing and considering, no degrees of probability, only an entrenched position to be defended as if their very lives depended on it. Such is the nature of the human ego.

This same comment can be applied to AGW proponents

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Answer me this for instance: if there is, say, only a 10% chance of catastrophic man made climate change, what do you have to gain from this position of absolute denial? There is not a 10% chance of catastrophic man made climate change except in computer simulations that keep having to be revised and revised as the predictions spewed forth don’t come to pass. As to your question: 1) I have not absolutely denied it. I am just not convinced. 2) The economic damage that can be inflicted on the world economy from draconian measures to solve a possibly non-existent problem could be more harmful to both industrialized and developing nations than the actual ‘problem’. Michael Crichton went into this in detail in ‘State of Fear’.

Can you really say with absolute certainty that the majority of the scientific community, minds vastly more qualified to judge than yours and mine, are totally mistaken about this? There are many, many members of the scientific community who do not believe in AGW. Are you saying that if 50.5% of the scientific community votes that AGW is correct that we should discount the other 49.5% and just accept this. No. I cannot say with absolute certainty that they are totally mistaken about this. Of course, if we were talking about eugenics in the early part of the 20th century then you would be on the side of the eugenics community and you would be talking about the eugenics consensus. We all know what the result of this scientific consensus was, don’t we? (See ‘Auschwitz’, ‘Final Solution’, etc. in your online encyclopedia).

Pertinent quotes:…

“I am a skeptic…Global warming has become a new religion.” – Nobel Prize Winner for Physics, Ivar Giaever.

“Since I am no longer affiliated with any organization nor receiving any funding, I can speak quite frankly….As a scientist I remain skeptical.” –  Atmospheric Scientist Dr. Joanne Simpson, the first woman in the world to receive a PhD in meteorology  and formerly of NASA who has authored more than 190 studies and has been called “among the most preeminent scientists of the last 100 years.”

Warming fears are the “worst scientific scandal in the history…When people come to know what the truth is, they will feel deceived by science and scientists.” – UN IPCC Japanese Scientist Dr. Kiminori Itoh, an award-winning PhD environmental physical chemist.

“The IPCC has actually become a closed circuit; it doesn’t listen to others. It doesn’t have open minds… I am really amazed that the Nobel Peace Prize has been given on scientifically incorrect conclusions by people who are not geologists,” – Indian geologist Dr. Arun D. Ahluwalia at Punjab University and a board member of the UN-supported International Year of the Planet.

“The models and forecasts of the UN IPCC “are incorrect because they only are based on mathematical models and presented results at scenarios that do not include, for example, solar activity.” – Victor Manuel Velasco Herrera, a researcher at the Institute of Geophysics of the National Autonomous University of Mexico

“It is a blatant lie put forth in the media that makes it seem there is only a fringe of scientists who don’t buy into anthropogenic global warming.” – U.S Government Atmospheric Scientist Stanley B. Goldenberg of the Hurricane Research Division of NOAA.

“Even doubling or tripling the amount of carbon dioxide will virtually have little impact, as water vapour and water condensed on particles as clouds dominate the worldwide scene and always will.” – . Geoffrey G. Duffy, a professor in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering of the University of Auckland, NZ.

“After reading [UN IPCC chairman] Pachauri’s asinine comment [comparing skeptics to] Flat Earthers, it’s hard to remain quiet.” – Climate statistician Dr. William M. Briggs, who specializes in the statistics of forecast evaluation, serves on the American Meteorological Society’s Probability and Statistics Committee and is an Associate Editor of Monthly Weather Review.

“For how many years must the planet cool before we begin to understand that the planet is not warming? For how many years must cooling go on?” – Geologist Dr. David Gee the chairman of the science committee of the 2008 International Geological Congress who has authored 130 plus peer reviewed papers, and is currently at Uppsala University in Sweden.

….

Can anyone really believe that the scientific community is only acting in its own interests in promulgating a fictional climate change scenario? Considering what this entails: that thousands of scientists are in on a conspiracy; that none of these scientists have any respect for scientific truth; that these thousand of scientists are primarily financially motivated; that there is nothing else they could equally as effectively apply for funding to research . . . do you honestly think anyone is justified in believing this? These are ‘strawman’ arguments. These scientists are not all in a ‘conspiracy’. I live in an R&D community (Knoxville/Oak Ridge area…you have heard of ORNL I am sure) and am familiar with the motivations of some of these researchers. Many people are motivated by the need for a paycheck. It is much EASIER if not more effective to get funding for AGW research right now. It has become its own industry. I have worked for British companies for 12 years now and must admit that our friends in the UK have a huge amount more of integrity, so perhaps we have a cultural difference in our perceptions of researchers. Unfortunately I have also talked to American researchers and they ‘follow the grant money’ pretty well.

Would you admit the possibility that you may only be believing what you need to believe to fend off fear? Uh….no. I believe what I believe because AGW proponents have made prediction after prediction based on faulty computer models that keep getting revised. Computer modeling of weather is not science. It is high tech guessing. Guessing that so far has been dismally wrong. Hardly any of the AGW crowds’ predictions have come to pass. When we have a cooling trend for the last few years they regroup and say that the cooling is caused by AGW. Then they make up a new name and call it ‘climate change’ because they look like fools as a ‘temporary’ cooling trend kicks in. It is silliness. In the private sector these fools would be fired. How many times do they have to get it wrong to lose all credibility?

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In the public life of the US, outright denial of AGW comes largely from the Republican party. A supposition. But if true may prove that the only people who can think for themselves may be people of that persuasion.

One need only look at the Bush administration’s attitude to the issue, or the way it is discussed on Fox news. Is Fox News rightist? I thought they were fairly balanced in reporting the news on AGW, LOL. They are a heck of a lot more balanced than that crazy female doc on the Weather Channel. In my country, the only bloc of the parliament that is demanding a select committee to review the science on climate change is the ACT party who are . . . libertarians. They have only a few seats in the parliament. Most of the country think they are a bit bonkers. Libertarians are fairly rational here. A little history: If you really read the US constitution and the Federalist papers and examine who the founders of our country were, you will come to the conclusion that they were very much Libertarian in their politics and economics.

Maybe you are an authoritarian personality type! Engineers have their own unique personality type. I think arrogance could go along with it….though maybe not authoritarian.

My only point was that I fail to see the rationality behind the outright denial that seems to come from the right of the political spectrum. Maybe you would like to address the primary question I posted:

Given even a relatively small probability of the reality of Anthropogenic Climate Change, what does anyone have to gain from a position of outright denial?

I’ll finally address your argument even though it is sort of a strawman.  The converse question is valid.  Yours is not:

1) I don’t think that anyone ‘outright’ denies ACC. They just are not convinced. Why should they accept it when they see the media pumping conflicting and often untrue anecdotal evidence out on the tube, hear of eminent scientists getting blackballed for disagreeing with AGW. There is a credibility gap here. People here distrust (with good reason) the media and government since those two institutions have pretty much shown they cannot be trusted due to many, many scandals in the last 15 years.

2) There is nothing irrational about questioning a hypothesis that has as its frontmen a failed VP candidate who has a riveting, mostly false powerpoint presentation on the subject and a NASA chief who in the 70s was a proponent of the opposite belief. BTW, that nobel prize winner also owns a major stake in a carbon offset trading corporation. He should have been disqualified for that huge conflict of interest.

3) The default belief is that climate change is a natural process. That is not denial. Many are just questioning the supposition that man has caused any climate change.

4) AGW is one of the few, if not the only scientific theory that is so politicized that it is being used to justify radically changing the entire political, industrial, and economic structure of the planet. That will affect me. Before I turn over my life to the politicos because of this, I am surely going to see if this is really happening. AGW is being used as a tool for a massive power grab. Billions of dollars are at stake and it is big, big business. I used to work for a company that was one of the leaders in promoting solutions to the ozone layer ‘problem’. Of course, they were the major manufacturer and patent holder of the Freon replacement that would be needed……I’m sure their motives were entirely altruistic though.

5) The potential socio-economic damage that can be done by relying on this ‘scientific consensus’ is staggering while the damage that can be done by doing nothing about it is admittedly, even by AGW proponents, debatable or minimal. The temperature rise specs have been repeatedly revised down, down, and down to the point that it would be considered statistical ‘noise’ in many ‘hard’ sciences. When you look at how the temperature monitoring stations have been compromised and the data continually changed (which no rational scientist or engineer would do) to fit the AGW template, any observed temperature rise is far within the measurement error. I stated it before and I will state the analogy again: A group of junior engineers, even all the engineers that work for me submit a report saying that we should spend 5 times our annual revenue on a new A/C system based on their studies that showed a statistically insignificant rise in temperature in the building that was within the measurement error of their instruments. They then tell me that they are not adhering to all the protocols for setup of the measuring devices and then they openly admit and publish that they have modified the data upward repeatedly each iteration and even added data points when they felt that interpolation was needed and deleted huge portions of the graphs which would have countered and falsified their claims. I would fire them all, every one of them. Now, that is EXACTLY what has been documented to be going on in AGW research. Why should I believe these people?

6) I have a bridge for sale here in Knoxville. It’s a fine bridge and I believe you would not have anything to gain by outright denial that I own it. However, you may have a large amount to lose if you believe I own it and then give me money in order to purchase it.

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Responses

  1. Filtering out the bickering and personal attacks, I think this boils down to Pascal’s Wager, but instead of the existence of God, the subject is the existence of AGW.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pascal's_Wager
    “Pascal’s Wager is a suggestion posed by the French philosopher Blaise Pascal that even though the existence of God cannot be determined through reason, a person should “wager” as though God exists, because so living has potentially everything to gain, and in theory nothing to lose.”

    Replace God with AGW. I find it interesting that you and Spanky take polar positions on both subjects.

    • I agree. Pascal’s Wager stood out in my mind as I replied to Spanky. I’m sure he is setting me up for a religion discussion……


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