Sunday, August 17, 2014

Just How Much of a Stretch is some Climate Change Denialism?

On Friday, Tony Abbot business adviser Maurice Newman published a piece in The Australian, warning that politicians were ignoring "nature's signs" of a major global cooling, "at our peril."

The Op-ed was craftily written. The problem was, it made things up, or grossly misrepresented them. And it appears that all the major assertions that it relies upon are false or misleading.

Even the scientist specifically relied upon for Newman's major newspaper published assertion, had this to say specifically about Newman's claim (that the current threat is global cooling due not to climate change, but to the fact that solar radiation - and not a massive increase in the very gases that absorb and re radiate hear - has been driving increasing warming):
[It] is, frankly, ludicrous.
Scientists who tend to understate, are not in the habit of calling things ludicrous.

But Newman in his piece had relied upon "leading British climate scientist Mike Lockwood," for his claim that it has been solar radiation (despite solar radiation actually decreasing the last few decades) and not a geologically radical multi million year increase to long term atmospheric greenhouse gas levels that was driving climate trends.

Lockwood not only disagreed - startling enough for a scientist whose work is used as a predominant part of a major op-eds argument - he rightly labeled it ludicrous.

But then, Climate Change refutation, rather than mere skepticism, is sometimes somewhat akin to a religion, convincing itself that it is science. Even often by projecting everything that disagrees with it, as religion, no matter how ridiculously.  (Notice also the question here was simply never answered.) It tends to reinforce itself, as like minds all take the ongoing process of scientific discovery itself - mistake, correction, debate, adjustment - for refutation of the underlying theory it seeks to refute.

The earth might cool. Who knows for sure. But the point is that the best, and overwhelming, assessment of science is that major (past) increases in greenhouse gases have been driving changes recently, pose a major threat of significant future change (on both overall patterns, and likely overall ambient heat upward), and the earth has been warming as well, significantly, even without taking into account the ocean and other signs which greatly amplify the picture.

Science aside, the greenhouse affect is major; and the theory that a geologically radical long term shift upward in these very same gases would not have a significant impact upon climate, would probably need some (let alone considerable) basis. But again, there has bee none, other than to argue with signs of corroboration of the basic CC theory, as refutation of climate change itself.

And a claim by a non scientist, relying upon scientists for the contrary notion - that Greenhouse gases don't matter, and so misconstruing the few scientists "relied upon" in the process so excessively that one is prompted to call the claims "ludicrous," is yet another exercise in trying to refute, by any means possible, for the sake of, refuting. Which is quite different from skepticism. It may be earnest, self sealing (and massive misinformation reinforcing) belief, but it is still very different from skepticism.

For example, on the super popular but climate change refutation site "Watt's Up With That," skeptical science author, textbook on climate science author, and book author John Cook is repeatedly called "a liar," and the site he founded repeatedly dismissed. It has to be for climate change refutation to continue it's approach not of skepticism, but of simply refuting climate change science, or anything that supports it:

For on Skeptical Science's home page, near the very top, it aptly, and it seems very correctly, points out:
Scientific skepticism is healthy. Scientists should always challenge themselves to improve their understanding. Yet this isn't what happens with climate change denial. Skeptics vigorously criticize any evidence that supports man-made global warming and yet embrace any argument, op-ed, blog or study that purports to refute global warming.
One could consider that there might be something to this, as well as the many points by multiple scientists and others, suggesting how a lot of climate change refutation is based upon a basic misconstruction of the issue, and a more objective analysis of what the issue itself is and is not; but that would get in the way of Climate Change refutation.

So John Cook, for example, among many others, is called a liar. And often by bizarre means and very thin standards, which if similarly applied to climate change refuters, would yield the same type of results, and far, far more of them, and often, far stronger.  Yet this allows John Cook, Skepticalscience, most climate scientists (Michael Mann, for instance), many others and the legitimate points to put the discussion back on the track of a rigorous, skeptical, rather than end result driven frame, to simply be disregarded - along with all points that refute climate change refutation, all points that support the basic theory of CC, and the idea that refutation is based upon "scientific analysis," to be adhered to.  

No comments:

Post a Comment