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Denialist Demagogues and McCarthyist Tactics

by Donald Prothero, Sep 14 2011

A few weeks ago, Texas Governor Rick Perry made the news by not only topping the field of GOP Presidential candidates in denying climate change, but upping the ante, and blaming it on greedy scientists. Many of the other GOP candidates have claimed that scientists are trying to scam the public for nefarious purposes:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry took his skepticism about climate change one step further on Wednesday, telling a New Hampshire business crowd that scientists have cooked up the data on global warming for the cash.

In his stump speech, Perry referenced “a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling in to their projects.”

“We’re seeing weekly, or even daily, scientists who are coming forward and questioning the original idea that man-made global warming is what’s causing the climate to change,” Perry said. “Yes, our climates change. They’ve been changing ever since the earth was formed.”

It isn’t the first time Perry has accused climate scientists of fibbing. ThinkProgress’ Brad Johnson reported on Monday that in Perry’s book, Fed Up!, the governor calls climate science a “contrived phony mess.”

Among his fellow GOP presidential contenders, however, Perry’s views are not so extreme.

Herman Cain has called the very premise of climate change “a scam,” while former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) has referred to it as nothing more than a “trend,” accusing the left of “taking advantage” of it by creating “a beautifully concocted scheme because they know that the earth is gonna cool and warm.”

Back in 2009, meanwhile, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) argued on the House floor that the very concept of global warming is faulty because “carbon dioxide is a natural byproduct of nature!”

Rick Perry even managed to further emphasize his ignorance of science when in a recent debate that he said he admired Galileo and how he “was outvoted for a while.”  Bad analogy, Rick! If Perry actually knew any science, he would realize that Galileo was championing an unpopular scientific idea (heliocentric solar system) that was “outvoted” by the conservative power of that time, the Church and the Inquisition. Eventually, scientific truth won out, not the political delusions of the conservatives.

Only Jon Huntsman, who is hopelessly behind and unlikely to get the nomination in a party dominated by anti-science extremists, sounded sane. In an interview with ABC News in late August, he said:

“When we take a position that isn’t willing to embrace evolution, when we take a position that basically runs counter to what 98 of 100 climate scientists have said, what the National Academy of Science has said about what is causing climate change and man’s contribution to it, I think we find ourselves on the wrong side of science, and, therefore, in a losing position.”

But the rest of these candidates, one of whom could potentially hold the presidency for the next four years, should worry us with not only their rejection of science, but the even more alarming tactic of using ad hominem attacks and “shoot the messenger” tactics to try to discredit the overwhelming consensus of climate scientists around the world (as I discussed in my post of Aug. 24). Not only are their charges and fantasies patently absurd, but they remind us of how other demagogues, from Hitler and Stalin to Joe McCarthy, used name-calling and intimidation to threaten and suppress ideas of people who challenged their world viewpoint.

First of all, the idea that climate scientists are a global left-wing conspiracy to get rich and enforce a liberal agenda is laughable on the face of it. I know hundreds of natural scientists (geologists, biologists, chemists, and physicists in many subspecialties), and if there’s one thing they almost all share, it’s a lack of interest in politics and economics, let alone a unified socialist-communist agenda. Many got into science specifically because they weren’t interested in economics and politics, and had a gift or love for doing science instead. What they are committed to is a sincere love of the truth, and a willingness to make sacrifices of their time, money, and even comfort and personal safety to find out what is really true about nature, no matter whose agenda it might support. Only rarely do most of us think about possible political or economic implications of our research. Typically scientists try to downplay those aspects because they don’t want to attract attention or controversy! If you doubt this, just look at all the negative comments that scientists heaped on Carl Sagan or Stephen Jay Gould because they were willing to be public figures and occasionally step into the political spotlight!

As James Powell points out in his excellent new book The Inquisition of Climate Science, the very idea that a scientific community, which is built upon the foundation of peer review and challenging accepted ideas and always double-checking each other’s work (especially if you disagree), would be able to put together a giant conspiracy about the data and cover it up—AND that normally conservative organizations, from the insurance companies and big corporations like GE to the U.S. military would all be in on the conspiracy—is ridiculous in the extreme. This shows a complete lack of understanding of science and how the scientific community really works. It’s a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black, because global warming denialism is entirely a PR campaign and conspiracy  by right-wing ideologues and their energy company backers, not a movement that spontaneously arose from dissident climate scientists. There is much evidence to support this contention. For example,  Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway documented from memos that leaked to the press that in April 1998 the right-wing Marshall Institute, SEPP (Fred Seitz’s lobbying firm which promotes denialism and doubt about tobacco and environmental issues), and ExxonMobil met in secret at the American Petroleum Institute’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., and planned a $20 million campaign to get “respected scientists” to cast doubt on climate change, get major PR effort going, and lobby Congress that global warming wasn’t real and was not a threat. Then there was the famous 2002 memo from GOP pollster and spinmeister Frank Luntz to the Bush White House:

“The scientific debate is closing [against us] but not yet closed. There is still a window of opportunity to challenge the science….Voters believe that there is no consensus about global warming within the scientific community. Should the public come to believe that the scientific issues are settled, their views about global warming will change accordingly. Therefore, you need to continue to make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue in the debate, and defer to scientists and other experts in the field.”

Nor are all scientists “commies”. I know of large numbers of both conservative and liberal scientists (but no outright communists or socialists), despite the claim that we’re all left-wingers. Some of the leading figures in climate research, such as Kerry Emanuel at MIT, are staunch Republicans. (Again, global warming is no left-wing ideology if it is accepted and acted upon by such conservative organizations as insurance companies, major corporations like GE, and the U.S. military). There are scientists who do have strong political opinions, but as scientists we try our best to prevent our political biases from influencing our scientific results. We’re human, of course, so occasionally research with a political agenda does get published—but then the rest of the scientific community will jump in and criticize it, so we don’t get away with our biases for long.

Finally, the idea that we do this to get rich is the most absurd charge of all, as Al Gore pointed out (and the right-wingers immediately attacked him again). Most scientists must endure a grueling 5-7 years in grad school on miserably small stipends to earn their Ph.D. Then we must live on paltry teachers’ salaries or even more tenuous “soft-money” grant funds to eke out a living. Most of the scientists in faculty posts don’t make six-figure incomes until they are near retirement, if ever. Meanwhile, people who spent much less time in grad school, like lawyers and MBAs and politicians, make the really big bucks. Once again, it’s a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black: assuming your opponent is motivated by the same things that motivate you, even though in this case it is clearly false.

In some cases, the right-wing fringe has gone to extreme lengths in their hostile attitude toward legitimate science. The FBI has reported a sharp increase in threats and hate mail and intimidation against prominent climate scientists like Michael Mann, James Hansen, and others. Australian climate scientists have also been threatened. The transition from conservative climate denialist to a dangerous anti-Semitic hate group is not difficult; one white supremacist website posted Michael Mann’s picture and those of other climate scientists and labeled it “Jew”. (In fact, most climate scientists are not Jewish, but the facts don’t matter to racists and anti-Semites). Another climate scientist told ABC News that he found a dead animal placed on his doorstep, and now he must travel with a bodyguard. As Mann said, “Human-caused climate change is a reality. There are clearly some who find that message inconvenient, and unfortunately they appear willing to turn to just about any tactics to try to suppress that message.”

Even more despicable are the right-wing politicians and pundits who actually target prominent scientists for intimidation. Jim Powell in his new book rightly compares it to the Inquisition, which threatened Galileo with torture when he espoused the heretical idea that the earth was not the center of the universe. These bullies use persecution of scientists to further their own political careers, all but inviting some of their crazy followers to gun them down.  Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma is one of the most brazen. He listed the name of 17 prominent climate scientistsand claimed that they engaged in “potentially criminal behavior” for violating the Federal False Statements Act. This is the classic tactic of McCarthy-style witch hunting, or analogous to how conservative authorities (such as the Inquisition) threatened Galileo with torture when he dared speak scientific truth to power. It has a tremendously chilling effect on science, not to mention what it does to the personal lives of hardworking scientists and their families. Of course, it is an entirely baseless charge, since the truth lies with the scientists, and it is Inhofe who is distorting reality. Nevertheless, an anti-scientific troglodyte like Inhofe is capable of wasting a lot of scientists’ time and money fighting and defending themselves against charges in court or in Congress, not to mention the fact that all these scientists are now targets of gun-toting crazy right-wingers.

But the craziest of all is Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. Even before his election in 2008, he was known to be an extreme right-winger and teabagger, and now he is abusing the powers of his office to push his extremist agenda. He is suing to release all the raw data and emails collected by Michael Mann when he worked at the University of Virginia. (Mann is now at Penn State, so Cuccinelli cannot touch him there). Cuccinelli hopes to find some sort of “smoking gun” of conspiracy along the lines of the East Anglia “Climategate” scandal. This is despite the fact, as has been proven by six independent commissions, there was nothing amiss in the emails, and no conspiracy was discovered, just careless language quoted out of context. Given the right wing’s scientific incompetence and misinterpretation of the East Anglia data, there’s no reason to think that they will have any better ability to interpret Mann’s data, should they release it. Instead, we can expect that they will find stuff that fits their preconceptions without any scientific expertise to judge the data in the first place. Cuccinelli is trying to claim that Mann had committed fraud, and should return all the research money, along with legal fees and triple damages.

This is really just a witch-hunt by an extremist politician who is using his relatively obscure position as state attorney general to further his political career. It is consistent with all the other ways he is using his office for political gain and street cred in the right-wing fringe. His crusades have ranged from the silly (trying to cover the naked breast of the crude sketch of the goddess Minerva on the Virginia state seal) to the serious. The latter include directing public universities to remove sexual orientation from their anti-discrimination policies, attacking the Environmental Protection Agency, filing a lawsuit challenging federal health care reform, and trying to reverse George Mason University’s policy about concealed weapons on campus. Polls show that the voters of Virginia are tired of his antics and want him to work on the job that most state attorney generals are paid to do: prosecuting criminals and corporations on the behalf of the state and enforcing state laws, not tilting at right-wing windmills.

Let’s hope by the time of the 2012 elections that the people will tire not only of these candidates, but their extreme anti-science agenda, with its terrible effects on scientific research and researchers. Hopefully, these demagogues will not only be voted down, but the voters will send a message that this kind of extremism (here in the defense of oil companies and other powerful corporate interests) is not to be tolerated. In the words of Army lawyer Joseph Welch, whose statements during the 1954 Army-McCarthy hearings finally derailed the Red Scare of the McCarthy era:

Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?

 

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121 Responses to “Denialist Demagogues and McCarthyist Tactics”

  1. Trimegistus says:

    So ad hominem attacks are bad, and anyone who makes them is AS BAD AS HITLER! Got it.

    • Captain Atheist says:

      No what he said was that the ad hominem attack was one of the preferred tactics of hittler, stalin, and McCarthy for use against there political opponents. Not that using them necessarily makes one as bad as these individuals.

  2. gdave says:

    Wow. I was stunned when I read this post, and by a poster I’ve come to respect and enjoy reading a great deal. It is so over the top it amounts to a self-parody.

    Four paragraphs in, we get an occurrence of Godwin’s Law. And this facile and trivial comparison of the horrors of the holocaust to the tactic’s of one’s political opponents is precisely what Godwin was criticizing. We also get such gems as “Jim Powell…rightly compares [right-wing politicians and pundits] to the Inquisition, which threatened Galileo with torture”, “all but inviting some of their [right-wing politicians'] crazy followers to gun them [climate scientists] down”, and “all these scientists are now targets of gun-toting crazy right-wingers.”

    So, exactly how many climate scientists have been arrested? Tortured? Murdered? Any? To be sure, harassment and especially death threats are serious business, and it is entirely reasonable to decry them and point out the potential for violent escalation even when no actual attempts have been made. But to directly compare public criticism (even conspiratorial ad hominems)to actual physical torture and murder is just wrong.

    And do you really believe that accusing climate scientists of “violating the Federal False Statements Act” amounts to a literal call to arms and incitement to murder? If so, do skeptics’ frequent accusations of fraud and exploitation of grieving families amount to incitement to murder Sylvia Brown, John Edward, James van Praagh, and other psychics? More directly, by accusing right wing politicians and pundits of engaging in a conspiracy to stifle research, of threatening the lives of innocent scientists, and of using tactics which are directly comparable to the Inquisition (arbitrary arrest, torture, mutilation, and murder), aren’t you, in fact, inciting violence against them?

    • Jim says:

      gdave, I live in Oklahoma City. Unfortunately, Jim Inhofe is enormously popular here. Even in casual conversations with friends about Inhofe’s anti-climate change attitude gets people fighting mad. The overwhelming numbers here support and believe that he’s correct on this issue. And I’m talking about my more liberal friends. (I try not to have conversations about climate-change or evolution with my conservative friends.) The tragic truth is that a politician’s message reaches more people than we want to believe. For some of them, it is a black-or-white issue worth coming to blows over.

      • Unfortunately, some liberal “Friends,” like Chris Mooney, with President Kumbaya type psychologies, believe it will be relatively easy to win over deniers.

        http://socraticgadfly.blogspot.com/2011/09/chrismooney-get-real-about-agw.html

      • tmac57 says:

        My guess is that Mooney is not trying to win over deniers,as much as he is trying to win over those who were deceived by them.There is a difference,in my opinion.

      • The irony in this whole discussion (as I pointed out in my “Baked Alaska” post in August) is that the GOP and AGW deniers are fighting a rear-guard action. The governments of the industrialized nations in Europe and Asia already accept AGW and planning for it, while we spin our wheels due to politics. The world’s insurance companies and major corporations like GE accept it and are planning for it. The US military is planning for it. Even some oil companies accept it. Meanwhile, we in the US lose precious time trying to change our wssteful habits (which we would want to do anyway just to get off foreign oil) while it’s a political football. China is already eating our lunch, and now they will beat us in green technologies as well (as Europe already has).

      • Mark says:

        Donald, is the impasse re AGW really the reason these green technologies are not developing in the US?

        China, at this remarkable stage of it’s history, with this miraculous (and possibly ephemeral) balancing act of a totalitarian system cleverly managing a capitalist society, is completing a new coal fired power station every 10 days. Everywhere I go, hotels, factories, even farms, burn coal to power and warm their operations.

        Yet, they still manage to develop green technologies (and admittedly the new coal fired power stations are 20% more efficient than older designs, but I’d suspect that is simply profit driven).

        Our much vaunted capitalist system perhaps no longer generates the degree of long term planning required to make things like this happen. Politicians are in a constant cycle of planning for re-election.

      • Jason Loxton says:

        Well, in his most recent post, he argues for steamrolling right over denialists, if they won’t listen (and in many previous posts he has argued for why they are largely impervious to argument). http://scienceprogress.org/2011/09/global-warming-is-polarization-a-good-thing/#more-23873

      • Somite says:

        I think Chris has been more straightforward with his opinions now that his blog has changed sites. It may be Discover was exerting some editorial control.

  3. Somite says:

    Dr. Prothero calls it exactly as it is. The republican party is nothing but a platform of statements designed to align ignorant anger with the goals of the special interests of the oligarchy. Republican positions do not pass the lightest muster and yet they incite such rabid defense by their followers; truly astonishing.

    I just don’t know what we will do if these people gain presidential control and thrust us back into the dark ages. Two things will happen immediately, an accentuation of class division with lesser and lesser upwards mobility due to lowering of wages and ever decreasing taxes for the wealthy; and deregulation of economic and natural resources leading to plunder of people and nature.

    There’s always Europe I guess…

    • Nyar says:

      You better hurry before Europe goes belly up.

      And, shouldn’t these scientists who feel threatened by gun toting right wingers be supporting concealed carry on campus? A nut who is willing to murder someone or try to murder them will not obey the laws against having weapons on campus, but a law abiding professor will and will be defenseless as a result.

      • Beelzebud says:

        How you took the leap from the topic at hand to “guns in colleges” is beyond me…

      • Nyar says:

        Reading is your friend, my friend.

        Here is the relevant sentence:

        “The latter include directing public universities to remove sexual orientation from their anti-discrimination policies, attacking the Environmental Protection Agency, filing a lawsuit challenging federal health care reform, and trying to reverse George Mason University’s policy about concealed weapons on campus.”

      • Nyar still makes an invalid leap of illogic. No, scientists should instead be demanding that any colleges that have concealed carry laws revoke them. Usual nutbarrery/trollery.

        As for people wanting more “nuance” from Prothero? The wingnuts aren’t to be fought with sweetness and light; that’s what’s wrong with the Preznit Kumbaya types.

      • Nyar says:

        Lol wut? What ,pray tell, is an invalid leap of illogic? The moonbat lexicon has become almost completely indecipherable.

      • Nyar says:

        And what does Preznit Kumbaya mean? Is that a racial slur directed at President Obama?

      • Nick says:

        Nyar – if you don’t get this allusion I have to assume that your not from the US and consequently wonder why you are even in this conversation. To enlighten you: Progressive liberals want our president to start kicking some ass instead of sitting around the campfire singing songs with the very people we perceive as sending this country down the drain.

      • Nyar says:

        You think that President Obama isn’t kicking enough ass? Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Ladin would beg to differ.

      • Sheila says:

        No Nick, it’s the military that wants Obama to kick some ass. It’s always been that way in your country, sort of like the tail wagging the dog. Damn warmongers.

  4. Nyar says:

    Also, this wrong:

    “But the craziest of all is Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. Even before his election in 2008, he was known to be an extreme right-winger and teabagger”

    The Tea Party did not even exist until 2009. Unless of course you were using the word teabagger in its older definition. In that case, eww! and that is really none of our business.

  5. Marc says:

    Seriously your treatment of this subject confuses me. You rarely if ever resort to rhetoric and typically cite sources and source material. Take another look at this issue please. I and many of your other readers, I’m sure, would applaud any effort on your part to challenge the so called consensus. Caveat the challenge, bye saying you are merely speculating or whatever, if you will, but at least let us know you’ve looked at the other side. I’m a hard core facts guy and I have no financial interest in this matter. My conclusion is the absolute opposite of yours. Why? What am I missing? Is my IQ insufficient to the challenge? Is my education somehow lacking? If these are your first thoughts then you may wish to reexamine your own motives or sources of information.

    You write, “He is suing to release all the raw data … collected by Michael Mann when he worked at the University of Virginia.” And you clearly think that suing for raw data is somehow a stupid, over the top, outrageous, bad thing. Seriously?

    Where’s The Original Data .. For God’s Sake if this doesn’t raise an alarm then, whatever, it just doesn’t matter as there is no conversation here.

    • I would characterize suing for the raw data as a waste of time and resources by people who don’t understand the science or the process. I’d also equivocate and throw my hat into the ring by saying it should be freely available on a web site. It would be inflammatory, like giving a crazy person a gun, but I’d probably do it.

      • MadScientist says:

        A hell of a lot of the raw data (perhaps even all) is in fact publicly accessible. Cuccinelli is just wasting time and money. Don’t forget the other instances where kooks have gone “show us your data” and then taken the data and processed it incorrectly while making ridiculous claims which only demonstrate that the kooks know absolutely nothing of meteorology.

      • Sheila says:

        Or the kook that has no data other than what he’s read on the internet, but has plenty of opinions.

  6. Kramer says:

    “First of all, the idea that climate scientists are a global left-wing conspiracy to get rich and enforce a liberal agenda is laughable on the face of it.”

    No it’s not. The solutions to AGW are leftist politics, for example, they call for a redistribution of wealth both within and between nations.

    And in fact, sustainable development is in many ways the successor to the New International Economic Order that fizzled out in the early 80′s. And the term “sustainable development’ came from the Brundtland Report which was led by Gro Harlem Brundtland who happened to be a VP at socialistinternational.org.

    You need to do some painful discomforting research so you don’t make incorrect statements like the one I noted above.

    • I think you’re making a false dichotomy here. My perspective includes both points of view: I agree that “the idea that climate scientists are a global left-wing conspiracy to get rich and enforce a liberal agenda is laughable on the face of it” because I have an understanding of how this work is actually done. And, I also agree with you, that many proposed solutions to this are no more than “leftist politics, for example, they call for a redistribution of wealth both within and between nations.” Don’t conflate the science with the politics. Most people do, and that’s the biggest part of the problem.

  7. Mike Mangan says:

    Very convenient to scapegoat Republicans when almost the entire Democratic party shies away from this issue. Dear Leader Barrack won’t even mention it in speeches anymore. You had two years to get something done. Tough luck. It takes brains and balls to accomplish anything in DC and that’s why there are 58 members of the Tea Party Caucus and ZERO for the Greens.

    Oh, look, those nasty Republicans just picked up Anthony Weiner’s seat in NYC. I’m thinking the public doesn’t give a rat’s ass what his climate views were.

    • Boy, do you not understand the “duopoly.” The TP Caucus is a caucus within the GOP, it’s not a third party. There’s also zero Libertarians, zero Socialists and zero Constitution Party members of Congress, as I cover all sorts of spectra outside the two-party duopoly.

      The TPers are just the furthest right within the GOP, exploited by big business as has been the case for decades.

  8. Kramer says:

    “In the words of Army lawyer Joseph Welch, whose statements during the 1954 Army-McCarthy hearings finally derailed the Red Scare of the McCarthy era:
    Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”

    The funny thing is, McCarthy was right, there were communists in our government. You can find the names of them in the NSA’s VENONA files. Harry Dexter White was one of them.

    Funny, when I was in school, I was taught that McCarthy was wrong, there were no communists in our government…

    • But he and the Red Scare ruined the lives of MANY innocent people, and started a Reign of Terror that hurt many people, all in the pursuit of the handful of genuine Communists he might have found. Surely you aren’t arguing that the ends justifies the means?

    • WScott says:

      McCarthy didn’t claim there were one or two communists working for the government. He claimed that hundreds of communists had infiltrated the government at every level, were poised to take control of the country, and thus extreme measures were required to Save The Republic. He claimed he had a list of names of known communists working in the State Dept, White House, etc, tho of course he never actually produced that list.
      McCarthy was not just “wrong;” he was a lying fear-mongering demagogue who made shit up and ruined people’s lives in order to advance his own career. If you can’t see that, I suggest you try cleaning your ideology glasses.

  9. Gr8GooglyMoogly says:

    Its funny how the AGW deniers focus on semantics and hyperbole, but never actually address the facts. I wonder, why is that?

    • itzac says:

      I know of one denier who focused on the facts.

      http://articles.latimes.com/2011/apr/04/local/la-me-climate-berkeley-20110404

      Richard Muller set out specifically to show that climate data did not reliably show a warming trend and that the hockey stick curve was fallacious. He and his team did a good job of double checking the data and results and found that, in fact, the data do support the conclusions reached. Here’s someone I would comfortably call a climate skeptic. He put his money where his mouth is and he did the research.

      • tmac57 says:

        I recently had a back and forth about Muller’s BEST findings,and the AGW skeptics are still citing his earlier “hide the decline” video as proof that there are nefarious forces at work in climate science. I countered with what you stated above,and all I got in response is “Well the data from BEST is not all in yet” (which is true) implying that when the project is complete AGW will be toast.Sigh!

  10. Arthur Maruyama says:

    A small correction: the figure depicted on the Seal of Virginia is Virtus–in this particular case a female (for Virginia) personification of virtues such as valor and courage–and not Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom.

    I know this only because I had to look up the news coverage on Cuccinelli’s “cover-up.”

  11. Max says:

    An LA Times editorial compared Perry with Pope Urban VIII.
    http://articles.latimes.com/2011/sep/09/opinion/la-ed-climate-20110909

    “It would be far more accurate to compare Perry to Pope Urban VIII, who put Galileo on trial for heresy in 1633 because his conclusions that the Earth revolved around the sun contradicted Scripture…
    At this point, the empirical evidence for warming, like the evidence for a heliocentric solar system or for evolution, is so strong that denial reflects a faith-based approach to public policy.”

  12. Mark says:

    I have not doubt the world is warming, or that we (mankind) are the major contributor to that warming.

    But, there is a lot of scientific debate still ongoing about the mechanisms of that warming.

    I feel a little disturbed by this concept of “the science is in”, because the solutions hinge heavily on the nature of the process.

    I feel it is more correct to say “the models are in”, because that is what we are really talking about at the moment. I have a suspicion that perhaps the solutions are more about creating “new economies” than they are about providing real solutions.

    I also feel there is an unhealthy haste to install new economic measures which seem to me to favour big business, big banking and big government, at the expense of the average citizen. One only has to look at the eager haste with which banks set up carbon trading departments in relation to the Kyoto protocols to realise there will become vast funds which will be sloshed around the world like ebbing and flowing tides.

    I feel a “solution” provided by, and benefiting big business, big financial institutions and big government becomes a foregone conclusion, and the ‘evidence” self perpetuates.

    I am disturbed by the stridency of the attacks on the differing viewpoints. One gets the feeling there are perhaps vast riches at stake here.

  13. Mark says:

    However, I’d also agree with Somite’s statement here : ‘…is nothing but a platform of statements designed to align ignorant anger with the goals of the special interests of the oligarchy…’ as being true of the tactics most political parties these days. (Or even of all days, they are just so much better at it now)

  14. Another climate ignoramus:

    “Nobel prize winner for physics in 1973 Dr. Ivar Giaever resigned as a Fellow from the American Physical Society (APS) on September 13, 2011 in disgust over the group’s promotion of man-made global warming fears.”

    http://www.climatedepot.com/a/12797/Exclusive-Nobel-PrizeWinning-Physicist-Who-Endorsed-Obama-Dissents-Resigns-from-American-Physical-Society-Over-Groups-Promotion-of-ManMade-Global-Warming

    Dr. Giaver wryly notes, “In the APS it is ok to discuss whether the mass of the proton changes over time and how a multi-universe behaves, but the evidence of global warming is incontrovertible?” Today it is OK for a scientist to question anything – EXCEPT global warming! It has all come down to politics and religion (sin, guilt, repentance, etc.) – NOT science!

    • Mark says:

      Interesting indeed. I know (and correspond with) a Professor in Physics who also has many questions about the ‘science of AGW’, but he is very careful in what he says, and how he says it, as he is in a Government associated teaching position.

    • Mark says:

      Physicists perhaps seem to have some trouble with it all;
      – here is another: “In October 2010, the APS suffered more scientific woes when another one of its prominent physicists resigned. The late Physicist Hal Lewis, who died in May of 2011, excoriated the APS leadership for its strict dogmatic like adherence to man-made global warming beliefs.”

      • Beelzebud says:

        I enjoy watching theoretical physicists, who proclaim string theory as being solid science, take shots at climate researchers.

        Something about throwing stones while living in glass houses.

    • Bryant Platt says:

      I fail to see how the opinion of a superconductor specialist (nice ad verecundiam with the nobel prize reference) is relevant to the discussion. Dissent of a credible scientist with [i]relevant[/i] training (in this instance, someone who actually understands climate modeling) would actually carry weight.

      • Mark says:

        Nevertheless, I believe Dr. Giaver makes a very valid point in stating this:
        “In the APS it is ok to discuss whether the mass of the proton changes over time and how a multi-universe behaves, but the evidence of global warming is incontrovertible?” Today it is OK for a scientist to question anything – EXCEPT global warming!”

      • Somite says:

        I am sure it would be OK to question global warming with data to back it up. What pisses off working scientists is when non-experts in the field hold a press conference to question global warming without data, papers or expertise to back it up.

      • tmac57 says:

        Mark,
        So you have a couple of instances where physicists are skeptical of AGW.But to put that in context,we would need to know how many do believe in AGW vs those who don’t. That is, if the point of your comment is: “Hey look here! There’s a real scientist or two or (whatever) who don’t believe the consensus!” Now if the point is that said scientists have good data supporting such an assertion,then they should make their case.
        Richard Muller is trying to do that with BEST,but it seems as though his study may be supporting AGW rather than challenging it, as he thought it would.
        BTW, need I remind you of how double Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling went off the rails later in life? You can’t always trust a distinguished scientist,especially if they seem to be saying things that many more distinguished scientists disagree with.

      • Mark says:

        Tmac, you are correct.

        But what worries me in all this is this human tendency to ‘follow the rules’, and ‘rules’ are indeed being laid down.

        And amongst it all, we still have an intense vocal minority taking the opposite stance.(I’m talking scientists here, not politicians, who would change their stance on the whisper of a poll.)

      • Mark says:

        Somite. I do agree. Discussion on the science of this topic should remain at a scientific level. Certainly it should not be subject to the puerile logic and misunderstandings of politicians with their own agenda and insatiable need to generate daily sound-bites.
        Surely physics (molecular, and energy (particle?) is the fundamental science being discussed here. So, Tmac, I too would love to know how many physicists (those in relevant fields) are entirely comfortable with the idea the evidence is incontrovertible. Obviously there are some who are not. It seems to me that an association such as the APS is acting with undue haste to ‘lock this in’. An approach rarely, if ever seen in modern scientific discovery. It seems very likely the ‘undue haste’ comes from political pressure, powered by the emotive concept of saving the world, right now.
        Having looked around a little, there is some data here (regarding APS members) http://greenfyre.wordpress.com/2009/11/14/only-0-45-of-physicists-sign-denier-petition/
        Apparently, only 0.45% of the APS members signed a petition disputing anthropogenic climate change. (of 47,000 members, that is about 211). The author claims they largely work in fields unrelated to climate.
        But to me, signing something like that is hugely illogical. It is the equal and opposite approach to regarding the evidence as incontrovertible. Consider also that physicists often work in government sponsored or connected positions, (ie, not exactly making a good career move), and considering they are only going to wind up being batted around in political debates, it is astonishing to me that they found two hundred who would sign up. I would question their mental health, or, should they be sane, marvel at the ferocity of their conviction.
        There is still much useful work to do, and discussing it from all angles would appear to have some merit. New discoveries are being made and new understandings reached, for example in the ongoing CLOUD experiment.

      • Mark says:

        Some have examined the backgrounds of the 160 (it turns out to be) APS members who put forward this petition, from both sides.

        I noted this one (#33, from http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/40916)

        “As far as I can quickly conclude the APS AGW skeptical consensus is the clear 5:1 voting majority of 165 AGW objectivists to 33 AGW “Believers” and 46,802 not sure.

        ….Of the 47,000 current APS members (to date that haven’t resigned) 46,802 have no opinion about AGW, 165 (160 petition signers and 5 council members) hold that AGW should be addressed scientifically skeptically/objectively and 33 (27 leaked number of councilors and 6 review committee members supporting AGW uber significance) hold that AGW should be “Believed”. While the opinionless and most of the 33 “Believers” are anonymous, only the 160 signed petitioners have been publicly acknowledged. …”

      • tmac57 says:

        Mark,
        Thanks for the link on the APS petition.While I was reading that,I came across this detailed analysis that examines the demographics of the signers. It is quite a lengthy document,and I haven’t been able to read it all yet,but you might find it interesting if you find the time:

        http://www.desmogblog.com/sites/beta.desmogblog.com/files/2009%20science%20bypass%20v3%200.pdf

      • Nestor says:

        So only those that agree with AGW may have valid opposing views ? How handy

  15. Somite says:

    Of more interest to me is why are the crackpot ideas of the GOP protected by virtue of being “an idea that someone has”. When the ideas are exposed as illogical or not based on facts why do the cries immediately follow for bias and GOP bashing?

    There is something deeper here that should be understood about how ideas gain traction (agnotology) but calling out Bachman for her anti-vaxxing and Perry for its climate change denialism is not biased. it is simply the correct thing to do if you care about the truth.

  16. Mark says:

    I dare not discuss the details of the science in here, being unqualified to do so, and truly confessing to not understanding it all.

    But I have read and researched widely on the to topic of AGW, and what I found most fascinating is the amount of good scientific, logical discussion which goes on in the comments section of some online sites.

    It appears there is still much to debate, and the debate and discussion does go on, where it is able to.

    Here is one such site, the comments section is more fascinating than the original article (which is on the APS stance). Comments 1, 3, 6, 16, 21 and 24 are worth a read.

    http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/40916

    And noting, re physicists, there is some discussion there from Dr. Oliver K. Manuel, Professor of Nuclear Chemistry, University of Missouri

    • As some have noted before, why the heck are we polling nuclear physicists (and people in other specialities) about a topic like climate science? Would we take this person seriously if they said they doubted evolution? UNLESS THEY HAVE A DEGREE AND ACTIVE RESEARCH in climate science, their opinion is no more informed than any other kind of scientist without appropriate degree or research. I have a Ph.D. in geological sciences and do research on climate change, but I wouldn’t pretend to be an expert on nuclear physics (even though I teach it at college level); why does a nuclear physicist think they know the details of MY profession? This is the problem with many of these “petitions” that deny or doubt AGW or evolution–they are a mishmash of scientists in unrelated fields who have no firsthand knowledge of the research, so their opinion is virtually irrelevant. It’s Ph.D. mongering, plain and simple, and just because the public doesn’t understand the limitations of a Ph.D. doesn’t mean we should fall for the same trap…

      • Mark says:

        I’m not sure how well the parallel with the evolution debate holds up. There you have 200 odd years of multi disciplinary layers of scientific research vs a bunch whose only argument (with absolutely zero evidence, or even concepts which could be tested in any way) is “god did it”.

        The climate debate? Much younger, perhaps much more influenced by the politics of the time, the research is probably more likely to be undertaken by those in government institutions. And the ‘other side’ is a far more diverse crowd than the creationists.

        In keeping with the point you make above, if we should not listen to the opinion of physicists, (surely amongst those closest to the mechanics of heating and cooling) perhaps the opinions of “the governments of the industrialised nations in Europe and Asia……. the world’s insurance companies … major corporations like GE …..the US military…some oil companies …” should also carry little weight.

        But again, I must say what really sets off my alarms in all this is the stridency of the debate, and this setting of “rules” (it is becoming ‘politically incorrect’ to argue a nay case), and now the democratic concept of ‘majority opinion’ as a proof of science.

      • Somite says:

        But Mark; the “stridency of the debate”, polls and letters should have no weight on a scientific issue. Look at peer-reviewed publications and the science is near-settled on an unexpected warming most likely caused by anthropogenic greenhouse gases.

        At this point any uncertainty makes things scarier, not less. We don’t know how adverse the effects will be. How much would you spend on cancer treatment for s loved one or what would you not do to keep your children safe. This is the level of discussion we should be having as rational human beings. Certainly not the conservative demagogy.

        Even the assumption that it would be costly to deal with this problem is probably wrong. More and more I am convinced that unless plunder is involved conservatives and the GOP are not interested.

    • tmac57 says:

      Uh Mark, I read Dr Oliver K. Manuels remarks,and among them was this jewel:

      “You are right on target: “Many of [the people who signed the petition] took quite a bit of risk in signing this statement.”

      That risk is exactly what transformed physics from a rational science of the early 20th Century to an irrational set of blind dogmas that today include:

      a.) An imaginary universe filled with giant balls of hydrogen (H),
      b.) A “Big Bang” that made all of the H atoms at time, t = 0, and
      c.) A giant, well-behaved H-fusion reactor that heats planet Earth.

      Experimental data clearly show all of the above statements are exactly wrong.

      Despite the efforts of APS, I’ll wager that the ancient scriptures turn out to be right again:

      “Truth is victorious, never untruth.”
      [Mundaka Upanishad 3.1.6; Qur'an 17.85]

      With kind regards,
      Oliver K. Manuel”

      I would suggest finding another source to buttress your arguments.

  17. Max says:

    “there was nothing amiss in the emails, and no conspiracy was discovered, just careless language quoted out of context.”

    The Independent Climate Change Email Review did find that “The figure supplied for the WMO Report was misleading.” Appending the same instrumental data to three different curves gave the impression of greater agreement between the curves. Fortunately, this was not done in the more important IPCC report.

    • Donald Prothero says:

      But compiling three different curves into one is not deliberate fraud or an attempts to mislead, as the right-wingers I cited at the beginning of the post allege–it’s simply a drafting issue that made the figure confusing. Each individual curve which went into the figure stands on its own, and the evidence that global warming is real and anthropogenic rests on HUNDREDS of peer-reviewed papers from different sources of data, not on one curve which was poorly drafted!

      • Max says:

        Jones didn’t compile three curves into one. Take a look at the criticized figure.
        http://www.skepticalscience.com/pics/wmo_graph.jpg

        There are three curves representing different proxy data. Why include three curves? To show that different proxy data agree with each other. Well, they sure look like they agree after 1980, but that’s because Jones used the SAME instrumentation data at the end, appending it to two of the curves after 1980, and substituting it for the decline in the green curve after 1960. That was misleading, and it hurt his credibility.

      • Donald Prothero says:

        SO one poorly drafted figure justifies all the right-wingers calling the scientific community liars and accusing us of fraud and attempting to boost our “political agenda”? Keep in mind the big picture of what I actually wrote about in this article (which never mentioned this plot at all).

      • Nestor says:

        Yes.

        With intent, and a lack of clarity the graph as presented to show 3 separate proxies it did not.

      • Somite says:

        But this is a mischaracterization of the issue. There were specific and very valid reasons why the “decline” seen by Briffa was different from other treering data and the many other methods examined. In fact the reason why that graph is divergent has generated other papers and is an active area of research known as the divergence problem.

        http://www.skepticalscience.com/Tree-ring-proxies-divergence-problem.htm

        That graph is only problematic if you don’t read the title and labels and understand the caveats; like all of science.

      • Max says:

        You’re talking about a different graph. I’m talking about the WMO graph:
        http://www.skepticalscience.com/pics/wmo_graph.jpg

        That graph is problematic because Jones stuck instrumental data at the end of three different curves, and made it look like it’s part of the original curves.

    • tmac57 says:

      Max,
      If Donald appended his original statement to read:

      “there were a couple of minor things amiss in the emails, but no conspiracy was discovered, just careless language quoted out of context.”

      …would you agree with that? That seems to be the thrust of your comments.

      • Max says:

        No conspiracy was discovered, just a few lapses in judgement.

      • tmac57 says:

        Yes,and unfortunately for us,their opponents seized upon those lapses and unscrupulously leveraged them into phony charges of fraud and conspiracy,instead of what the were.

  18. WScott says:

    To those who agree that AGW is real, but disagree with the “leftist” solutions that have been proposed: Fine! Great! Please propose your own solutions*, and maybe we can come up with something better (and more politically palatable). But we can’t even get to that point because the discussion has been hijacked by an ideologically-motivated PR campaign created by people who, until very recently, were denying global warming was happening at all, and only switched to okay-it’s-warming-but-it’s-not-our-fault once that evidence became incontrovertible.
    As for Mark’s point that AGW is a much younger theory that evolution: fair point. But the difference is that with AGW, the consequences of waiting another 100 years to take action are potentially devastating.
    * To clarify: I’m not telling individual posters to STFU unless you have a viable alternative; I recognize that’s beyond the expertise of most of us. My point is that the “AGW Is Real But The Proposed Solutions Are Bad” crowd as a whole needs to stop *fighting* and start *contributing*.

  19. Mark says:

    I’m more in the camp of those who wonder, “Why are some apparently very intelligent individuals arguing against this when they have nothing to gain from taking that position?”

    I guess exacerbated by being a member of the “I’ve looked as hard as I can but I don’t really understand the science, and I’m not very good at accepting the ‘just trust me on this’ explanation” school of thought.

    • tmac57 says:

      I would guess, at least for some,that it is a case of motivated reasoning driven by the cognitive dissonance created by facts that don’t fit well into their worldview (economic,ideological,etc.)They are uncomfortable with the implications,and that drives them to have to cherrypick bits and pieces of data and studies that ONLY support their more comfortable position,rather than accept the more disturbing realization that we could be not only headed for an environmental disaster,but that we are also CAUSING one,and that by their obstructionism they are by implication a big part of the problem.I know that I wouldn’t want that on MY conscience.

      • Mark says:

        I’m finding musing over this issue to be somewhat of an insight into my own system of beliefs (and perhaps giving me some understanding of why religious people often cannot be budged from their beliefs).

        Even though I’m presented with opinions of experts on AGW, somewhere in the background is a feeling that ‘this is not right. I find myself feeling frustrated discussing the topic with friends I know to be very intelligent, but who have not read up on the topic, and simply choose to accept the information as being true. They in turn regards such discussion indication I have become somewhat insane, (such is the emotive response now automatically attached to this topic).

        I can end those awkward discussions by simply agreeing. But that does not quell the doubts in my mind.

        Perhaps likewise, Donald Prothero seems to be of the belief that instituting wide scale economic measures will return the USA to a competitive status with China in developing green technology. (discussion somewhere under comment #2 above). It seems to me this may not be the result, as it seems certain the USA will implement such schemes first, burdening further it’s economy, and if and when the Chinese do follow, surely they will still end up holding the same competitive advantages as before.

      • Donald Prothero says:

        I still don’t understand your reasons for doubting climate scientists. None of us are nuclear physicists, yet we don’t doubt that they know what they’re doing, or that whatever their community agree is real about nuclear particles or quantum mechanics is probably true. Not many of us do research in evolutionary biology or paleontology, yet none of us question evolution either. Yet somehow we all think we’re experts on climate science. No, it doesn’t work that way. It’s a highly specialized field that requires years of training and research experience to really understand, and it makes no sense of a non-specialist to question or second-guess them any more than we would second-guess nuclear physics or quantum mechanics or evolutionary biology. As has been said over and over by many, we non-specialists must realize that we are not competent to judge the scientific validity of data and results outside our area of training and expertise. But if 98% of a given scientific community agrees on something like evolution or nuclear physics or quantum mechanics, and the literature in the top peer-reviewed journals in the world all supports the idea, we are foolish to pretend we have better insight or know more than the experts, and second-guess an entire community of experts.

      • Somite says:

        Let’s suppose you have an illness that requires surgery. In most hospitals and specially if the illness is complicated there will be surgery rounds or boards where the team meets and discusses the best course of action. Would you doubt the conclusions of this team, or even a single surgeon? In some cases you may want a second opinion but would you just keep doubting and delaying the surgery until it is too late?

        It is exactly the same with global warming.

      • Nestor says:

        And if that same hospital, came up with a radical treatment that had never been used before and used data that was unverifiable (see mann 1000 year proxy problems) and then “projected” with computer programs that to not “pastcast” with any real accuracy … maybe I would be less impressed with hospital.

      • Mark says:

        Donald, Somite, these are good questions and examples posed by you. I pondered the matter for a day or so as it was not immediately clear to me why it is the case that I have automatic faith in some experts, but perhaps not others. I am still somewhat unsure.

        But perhaps it is this:
        In regard to doctors and (they keep coming up in the conversation), nuclear physicists.

        We were immersed in information on advances in medicine from a very early age. We heard tales of how diseases were discovered and cures found. All around us we saw people cured and having deep trust in doctors. As we have grown older, we have almost all had some personal experiences which helped to confirm our faith. (Ironically enough, even as the discoveries continue and the science advances, that faith seems perhaps to be declining).

        Even in the case of nuclear physicists, where we can count no personal experiences, and who are surely less revered, we have all long known the stories of discoveries in nuclear science, fusion reactions, fission reactions, have observed the construction of nuclear power plants. We know great naval ships ply the oceans, in which thousands of crew members sit encased in steel, ‘safely’ atop small nuclear reactors. (and the mighty US of A would not put its service men and women at unnecessary risk, would it?) Perhaps we classify the accidents which have occurred as ‘mechanical’ or ‘management’ problems.

        Climate scientists? These we had not even heard of until a decade ago, and they only came with dire warnings of impending doom. Perhaps they sparked some subconscious parallel in some minds with the rejected priests and ministers who tried to shape our minds in youth, with similar tales of doom and salvation. Unlike the priests, they do come with reams of research and science to back their warning, but they have no track record to the average man. Their research and their tasks seem to not touch our daily lives.

        Obviously a good marketing campaign is needed, but unfortunately the debate has been hijacked by unscrupulous and ignorant politicians.

        So, my only current solution to this dilemma of instilling belief and faith is to wait one hundred years, then history (and hopefully glory) will be on your side!

  20. Somite says:

    I agree that the instrumental data should have been labeled in the graph but the fact that instrumental data was included is on the figure description.

    “Figure 1: Northern Hemisphere temperatures were reconstructed for the past 1000 years (up to 1999) using palaeoclimatic records (tree rings, corals, ice cores, lake sediments, etc.), along with historical and long instrumental records (WMO 2000).”

    Regardless the conclusions are still the same and it could be argued that it was an unnecessary complication to add for the intended audience.

    • Max says:

      Yeah, but that’s like a magazine photoshopping a celebrity’s head onto a model’s body and crediting the photo editor in fine print.

      It would’ve been more honest to just plot a single composite curve and say it’s our best estimate.
      The way it was plotted sent the message that these three different sources of data all agree, especially after 1980.

      • Somite says:

        Not at all. In your example there is a clear intent to deceive. In the case of the graph it is perhaps an oversimplification that still reaches the correct conclusion.

      • Somite says:

        Also, the photoshop you describe would have to have a label that says “more than one person’s body was used to create this picture”.

      • Max says:

        And that disclaimer would be on another page in fine print, while the cover shows the photoshopped image and the celebrity’s name.

      • Somite says:

        Oh no. In the label of the figure it is clearly stated that instrumental data is included.

      • Max says:

        Oh yes. Here’s the WMO report.
        http://www.wmo.int/pages/prog/wcp/wcdmp/statemnt/wmo913.pdf

        The figure with spliced curves is on the cover, and the fine print is on the next page.
        The legend on the figure says the curves are “from Mann” and “from Briffa” even though Jones modified them.

      • Somite says:

        It’s right there in the top of the next page!

        “Front cover: Northern Hemisphere temperatures were reconstructed for the past 1000 years (up to 1999) using
        palaeoclimatic records (tree rings, corals, ice cores, lake sediments, etc.), along with historical and long
        instrumental records. The data are shown as 50-year smoothed differences from the 1961–1990 normal.
        Uncertainties are greater in the early part of the millennium (see page 4 for further information). For more
        details, readers are referred to the PAGES newsletter (Vol. 7, No. 1: March 1999, also available at
        http://www.pages.unibe.ch) and the National Geophysical Data Center (http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov).
        (Sources of data: P.D. Jones, K.R. Briffa and T.J. Osborn, University of East Anglia, UK; M.E. Mann,
        University of Virginia, USA; R.S. Bradley, University of Massachusetts, USA; M.K. Hughes, University of
        Arizona, USA; and the Hadley Centre, The Met. Office)”

      • Nestor says:

        Or does not.

        See Argo Data

      • Max says:

        A single composite curve would be an oversimplification that still reaches the correct conclusion, since it gives the best estimate for a given point in time. For the year 1000, it would show proxy data, and for 1995 it would show the more reliable instrumentation data.
        The WMO graph is deceptive because it replaces the “decline” in Briffa’s proxy data with instrumentation data, but labels the resulting curve as coming from Briffa.

      • Somite says:

        I think I see what the problem is. The WMO graph label is not referencing Briffa’s original tree ring data. It is referencing a later review paper where Briffa publishes a reconstruction based on his tree ring data AND instrumental temperature.

        http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277379199000566

        The WHO figure never intended to present Briffa’s original tree ring data probably for simplicity given the audiens. As we have discussed before the divergence problem is widely published and discussed as you can see in the abstract of that paper.

        I don’t understand what difference does it make to you to see a small dip on one set of tree ring data (out of many others) followed by a stratospheric rise in instrumental data right next to it.

        But let’s take a step back and consider that 1999 is ancient history. Since then many more reconstructions have been published with data from multiple sources. For example you can find here a collection of reconstructions with references. A prominent one is from 2008 a full 9 years after the Briffa one you are so upset about.

        http://priuschat.com/forums/environmental-discussion/56792-man-based-global-warming-201.html#post1011615

        One hallmark of denialism is the obsessive fixation in unimportant mistakes or omissions that make no difference in the current understanding.

      • Max says:

        Jones said in his email that HE added in the real temps to all three curves, hiding the decline in Briffa’s.
        Here’s the description of Briffa’s original paper.
        http://www.skepticalscience.com/print.php?n=653

        “In creating the WMO graph, Jones cut off the tree-ring density curve around 1960 when it diverged from instrumental temperature and grafted the instrumental temperature onto the green line. This technique has been rightly criticised for failing to distinguish between reconstructed temperature and the instrumental temperature in a graph.”

      • Somite says:

        I don’t know what else to tell you. In normal human discourse this should have no bearing on the conclusions, specially considering subsequent results.

      • Max says:

        It has bearing on Phil Jones’ integrity. This and a couple other emails.

  21. Sheila says:

    Rick Perry is a moron and I sure hope your country isn’t stupid enough to elect him next year.

  22. Sheila says:

    Maybe if you start calling him mini bush it will turn a lot of people off. Funny that you don’t question that he will be running against Obama next year? It’s just like America has already bought and paid for the next Republican leader. That’s probably because it has.

  23. Mark says:

    I realise the main point of this article was to note the ignorant and accusatory language of the politicians, not the climate issue per se.

    But, don’t you think that the editor of Remote Sensing resigning after criticism for publishing one dissenting paper co-authored by University of Alabama Climate Scientist Roy Spencer, is extremely strange?

    It is very jarring to my sensibilities.

    To rephrase things somewhat:

    Perhaps the economists and governments are keener on it all adding up than are the climate scientists. It is a simple enough matter to focus the research of genuinely impartial scientists in one direction. (I have been involved in funded trial work for decades).

    In summary, I doubt more the pressures and forces that may be behind it all that I do the science itself.

    • tmac57 says:

      Mark,
      Do you ever question the pressures and forces that are coming from the anti-AGW side? What kind of effects would that produce?

      • Mark says:

        Tmac, A good point, and it is possible.

        But many of the ‘more scientific’ questioners seem to be retired, and others would not seem to be so directly funded as are those in government employ.

        No doubt, some do draw some funding from ‘big business’. I’d think the pressure is not quite so relentless as that which government and its aligned forces can apply, it’s simply financial.

        In fact, I believe people risk their careers, their reputations, and narrow their future opportunities when they go against the mainstream. Especially in an issue as emotive as this.

      • Donald Prothero says:

        But the whole point of my article is that climate scientists are risking their lives and safety by doing their science properly, since the “mainstream” political winds in this country are now very anti-science, especially in the GOP. I would think that death threats and dead animals on your doorstep are a much stronger pressure than “going against the scientific mainstream” (which is encouraged, because we are always supposed to test and critique other peoples’ hypotheses).

      • Mark says:

        I don’t understand where the death threats and dead animals type of thinking comes from. Likewise, most (or at least many) statements in comment sections of general newspapers from AGW sceptics can be pretty basic to say the least. (though that is countered a little by the favourite approach by AGW supporters “well, I dunno, but we better do something fast, just in case”).

        There are a lot of interesting (read strange) people out there.

        But all this is just demonstrating how emotive it has all become.

      • Mark says:

        But I’d love to hear comment on what people think about the editor of Remote Sensing resigning over the Spencer article.

        Surely that does not sound very encouraging.

      • tmac57 says:

        How is the government supposed to be benefiting from the belief in AGW? It seems like it is a problem that they would like to go away and not have to deal with,as opposed to something desirable.

      • Mark says:

        Not sure. Could create a whole new facet of the economy – carbon trading, big business, big finance, exchanges, carbon trading desks, government departments, bureaucracy, more taxes.

        Might be just what the world economy needs!

        But I think it can also be a tool for hegemony, and ‘not so free” free trade agreements.

      • Mark says:

        In Australia, the proposal is to bring in a “carbon tax”.

        Excellent marketing – there were actually people demonstrating in the streets demanding to be taxed! (perhaps those who just saw it as a new tax and not as saving the world were the ones who became a bit too upset and behaved inappropriately as mentioned above).

        There seemed to be a little too much eagerness on the part of the government to make this their highest priority when the target of reducing Australia’s 1.3% of the world’s man-made carbon dioxide output by 5% by the year 2020 was really not going to help much. (or measurably).

        Many would appear to think there was perhaps another agenda there.

    • Mark says:

      Correction!: In summary, I doubt more the pressures and forces that may be behind it all than I do the science itself.

  24. Phea says:

    I think it’s reasonable to assume that even if every denier of global warming “see’s the light” tomorrow, the only solution to the problem wont even begin until we run out of fossil fuels, human nature being as it is. I guess you could say I’m very skeptical that any realistic solution to the problem exists. Death, taxes and global warming… are inevitable.

    • Mark says:

      “Denier”
      “Sees the light”
      …just gotta love the language that has evolved around this.

      • Phea says:

        Gee Mark, I wouldn’t want semantics to get in the way of my point, so allow me to rephrase it.

        Even if global warming is accepted as fact by everyone, we will still use fossil fuels until they run out.

        I believe this because of my perception of human nature. It also forms my belief about another issue, which is perhaps less controversial.

        Even though we know, without any doubt whatsoever, that a finite planet can NOT sustain infinite growth, our population will continue to grow. I’m not at all pessimistic though, nature will take care of both situations.

  25. CountryGirl says:

    Maybe scientists don’t take history classes or maybe the left and Hollywood have been more successful in destroying McCarthy then they hoped for. McCarthy was right! The communist were actively working to destroy the U.S. and they were embedded in the government AND the president (FDR) knew it when he appointed many of them. There was a massive conspiracy to take over the Republic. McCarthy was not a particularly attractive person and it was easy to demonize him on TV and in movies. But he was correct and the entire cold war and East Germanies (and many other East European countries) citizens could have avoided the cold war holocaust they endured at the hands of the communists aided by American communist and Hollywood if McCarthy had been treated honestly by the media.

    • John Greg says:

      “There was a massive conspiracy to take over the Republic.”

      “… the entire cold war and East Germanies (and many other East European countries) citizens could have avoided the cold war holocaust they endured at the hands of the communists aided by American communist and Hollywood if McCarthy had been treated honestly by the media.”

      ROFLOL!

    • Mark says:

      Geez I’d love to hear the logic bhind THIS statement: “….East European countries) citizens could have avoided the cold war holocaust they endured at the hands of the communists aided by American communist and Hollywood if McCarthy had been treated honestly by the media….”.

      Absolutely mind-boggling. Logic?

      Where on earth do you get your infomation and what on earth are you thinking?

      Even those in the West, who in those times used the threat of the communist bogeyman to achieve their own ends, would be astounded to see that at least a speck of their propaganda and people programming has carried over to today.

  26. d brown says:

    The size of the lie is a definite factor in causing it to be believed, because the vast masses of a nation are in the depths of their hearts more easily deceived than they are consciously and intentionally bad.
    The primitive simplicity of their minds renders them more easy victims of a big lie than a small one, because they themselves often tell little lies but would be ashamed to tell big ones.
    Such a form of lying would never enter their heads. They would never credit others with the possibility of such great impudence as the complete reversal of facts. Even explanations would long leave them in doubt and hesitation, and any trifling reason would dispose them to accept a thing as true.
    Something therefore always remains and sticks from the most imprudent of lies, a fact which all bodies and individuals concerned in the art of lying in this world know only too well, and therefore they stop at nothing to achieve this end.
    ~ Adolph Hitler, Mein Kampf