Patterico's Pontifications

3/26/2007

Notes From A Proud Global Warming Skeptic (Part 2)

Filed under: Accepted Wisdom,Environment — Justin Levine @ 8:16 pm

 [posted by Justin Levine]

Remember Carl Sagan? He wasn’t only a famous astronomer, but he was a self-proclaimed “skeptic” who tried to convince himself and others that he was dedicated to scientific principles over “pseudoscience and irrationality”.

However, that didn’t prevent him from falling into the common trap of using his “scientific credentials” to try and feign credibility on topics well beyond his area of scientific expertise: nuclear war, SDI, environmentalism, etc.

Part of this came from an internal contradiction in Sagan’s outlook. As David Morrison explains -

A number of his early publications were in exobiology, and at various times he speculated about life not only on Mars, but also on Venus, Jupiter, and even the Moon. In spite of his increasing role as a scientific skeptic, he permitted himself to indulge in this broad speculation, so long as his ideas remained within the realm of possibility.

[emphasis added.]

In other words, he really stopped being a scientific skeptic, but still trotted out the label on occasion to be used as a cudgel in debate. After all, what real limitations does the “realm of possibility” have? UFO’s, Bigfoot and Remote Viewing are all within the “realm of possibility” – but this makes the entire concept of scientific skepticism meaningless. The end result of this contradiction was Sagan the scientist endorsing the Drake Equation – assuming that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe simply by nature of the fact that the universe is so big. It is certainly an attractive speculation – but it has nothing to do with science or scientific inquiry. That conclusion is nothing more than religious faith.

Things came to a head on the eve of the Gulf War when Sagan again used his credentials as a “scientist” to proclaim (without a shred of evidence beyond a religious-like faith) that setting fires to the oil fields in Kuwait would create an environmental disaster for the world akin to a “nuclear winter”. But how could anyone doubt Sagan? After all, he was a “scientist” right? That was all we needed to know. There was no need for debate. He was a “scientist”, and we weren’t, so therefore, he must be right.

As Morrison again explains -

In the autumn of 1990, Sagan made his most serious scientific blunder. Threatened with military opposition to its invasion of Kuwait, Iraq threatened to set fire to the nation’s oil wells. Sagan became concerned that the quantity of petrochemical smoke generated by these oil-field fires could generate a small-scale nuclear winter, endangering crops across Asia and threatening world food production. Of his four TTAPS co-authors, only Turco supported this hypothesis; Pollack, Toon, and Ackerman could not see how sufficient smoke could get into the stratosphere. However, Sagan went public with dire predictions. While he kept his predictions conditional, saying only that we could not show that massive oil-field fires would not have major climatological consequences (a “double negative” logic that he used frequently), his doomsday warning was widely reported. The oil fields were torched in January 1991, blackening the sky over most of Kuwait and disrupting the coastal ecosystem, but there were no climatic effects, even on a local scale. Sagan was widely criticized, and the episode had the further effect of undermining the credibility of the entire nuclear winter scenario.

[emphasis added]

Even after Sagan’s crackpot theory was clearly proven false, it wasn’t enough for the religious cult of environmental true-believers. They simply alleged that a “cover-up” had taken place in order to hide a supposed environmental disaster that nobody but them could seem to pinpoint. 

Does any of this sound at all familiar regarding another debate that we are currently experiencing??

People should not be skeptical of science. But they should be very skeptical of the proclamations of scientists. Many people fail to understand that those are two very different things. Scientists have political and social biases just like anyone else. The problem is more and more of them use a veneer of “science” to try and exploit those biases and cut off debate.

[posted by Justin Levine]

73 Responses to “Notes From A Proud Global Warming Skeptic (Part 2)”

  1. For a similar example, Amity Shlaes’ recent article in The American has some money quotes concerning the whole FDA debacle with banning silicone implants without the necessary evidence.

    The New England Journal of Medicine ran an article by the then FDA head, justifying the ban. This greatly added to the “consensus” of medical professionals agreeing that the silicone ban was valid.

    The Journal editor who ran the piece recanted, and actually admitted that her Liberal Democrat sensitivities swayed her decision.

    http://www.american.com/archive/2007/march-april-magazine-contents/second-thoughts-on-breasts

    Ray G (50194a)

  2. Wow…

    You say that Sagan tried to “feign credibility on topics well beyond his area of scientific expertise” but your link goes to an article where the word “feign” doesn’t even appear once. Either you completely misunderstood what Morrison is saying, or you’re trying really hard to misrepresent it. Here’s a nice bit about Sagan that you forgot to post:

    His former student Clark Chapman wrote in 1977: “A man of vivid imagination, he keeps alive a wide variety of conceptions of planetary environments. By suggesting often outlandish alternatives and challenging traditionalists to disprove them, he has inspired doubts about many accepted theories. Sagan’s role is essential for healthy science because a bandwagon effect frequently leads to premature consensus among scientists before equally plausible alternatives have even been thought of, let alone rationally rejected.”

    Broad speculation is an essential part of the scientific method. It’s how we form hypotheses and design experiments. Sagan did it very well and he never confused speculation with certainty. As Morrison says:

    Carl Sagan was the world’s best-known scientist in the late twentieth century, serving as our guide to the planets during the golden age of solar system exploration. He was both a visionary and a committed defender of rational scientific thinking. Sagan died on December 20, 1996, while only 62, and he has been greatly missed in the decade since.

    Oregonian (637cd1)

  3. Oregonian –

    I never claimed that the article uses the word “feign”. That was my own characterization using material from the article.

    Do you deny that he implicitly used his status as a scientist to generate interest in his views on SDI, nuclear war and nuclear winter? I think most people can rationally conlcude that from the article.

    You state, “he never confused speculation with certainty”. How would you characterize the nulcear winter claim regarding the Kuwaiti oil fires? You can say that he never actually claimed to was not “certain” about that, but then you have made the word meaningless in the context of this debate. The point is that he had no real scientific basis to make the claim, but he used his credentials as a scientist to give it credence in the media. How am I wrong here?

    I have not misinterpreted anything that Morrison said. I rather suspect that you are misinterpreting what I am saying. I am not mimicking any of Morrison’s personal views here. I am using facts that Morrison provides in order to advance my own views.

    Justin Levine (20f2b5)

  4. When I first read the line about Sagan commenting on subjects outside of his expertise, I cringed. We’re too often told that our opinions are meaningless unless we have a PhD in the given subject.

    However, the article does make clear that Sagan was attempting to portray himself as the “skeptic.” This implies a kind of sobriety in his scientific views, and promises to be a watch-dog of sorts, and not one to glom on to the latest theories.

    Sure, there is a place for theories, and theoretical work. But if one is going to portray one self as a “skeptic” utilizing their public notoreity in the process, they have a responsibility to live up to that claim of level-headed coolness, and prudence.

    Sagan did not.

    Ray G (50194a)

  5. I don’t get the connection to global warming. Put aside Al Gore (who is a politician), and the majority of people proclaiming the dangers of global warming are actually experts in the field. It’s not like it’s a bunch of sociologists using their ‘status’ as PhD’s to feign expertise. There’s a huge difference between what’s going on here in the global warming debate and Carl Sagan’s attempts to influence the Gulf War. I agree that just because someone claims to be an expert (and a skeptic) and has a PhD after their name doesn’t mean their opinions are more valid. At the same time, though, sometimes people who claim to be experts, really are. For instance, just because homeopathy is complete quackery doesn’t mean you have to mistrust everyone who says they’re a doctor.

    I should also point out that there’s a huge difference between scientists talking about global warming (ie, whether it exists, or is man-made, etc) and scientists advocating for specific policies. That is something that gets confused, a lot, by people on both sides of the issue.

    Adam (e13086)

  6. “In other words, he really stopped being a scientific skeptic, but still trotted out the label on occasion to be used as a cudgel in debate.”

    No, in other words Sagan was willing to speculate – and of course label his thoughts as speculation – if the speculations were based on plausible science. Now maybe he didn’t always live up that standard, nevertheless that is the he tried to operate. I must add that it is a mode that doesn’t conflict with being a skeptic.

    Grotius (241283)

  7. Justin Levine,

    BTW, what exactly are you skeptical about? That the climate is changing? That the changes were brought on at least in part by human activity? That the changes will bring about dire consequences? Some other aspect of the issue?

    Grotius (241283)

  8. So, Sagan was a blowhard. I guess that means all scientists are blowhards and that the Pope was right when he told Galileo to shut up?

    All you have proven is that some folks get full of themselves. I really don’t see the point of this.

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  9. Grotius –

    All fair questions. My answers:

    I am certainly NOT disputing the fact that the climate is changing – but I believe that the climate is ALWAYS changing.

    I also don’t dispute that the nature of the recent changes have brought about slight warming relative to last few hundred years.

    I don’t dispute the fact that the Earth is currently the warmest it has been in roughly 400 years. (Nor do I know any other self-proclaimed skeptics who dispute the last 3 statements above.)

    I believe that comparing changes over merely 400 years to be a very short time span relative to Earth’s modern climatological history – and thus is of little scientific use.

    I believe that specific and accurate temperature records only go back to about 1850. So when someone refers to it being the hottest since daily temperatures have been recorded, they are only talking about the last 150 years at most (which one again, I believe to be scientifically insignificant).

    I DO dispute the notion that the Earth is warmer now than it has been in the last millenium (1,000 years).

    I don’t dismiss the notion that the changes are brought on at least in part by human activity – but I don’t believe that it has contributed to the majority of the net changes (like everyone else on both sides of the debate, I can’t specifically quantify it with any certainty – but I believe mankind to be significantly less than 50% of the overall cause.)

    I beleive that the level of changes in temerature are still relatively small in terms of concrete degree measurements. (Correspondingly, I believe the amount of changes caused by man-made factors to be even more miniscule.) I beleive that “record tempertaures” can be set and measured by less than one-tenth of a degree – so I am not automatically concerned when we have set “record” temperatures in the last 11 of 12 years going back to 1750 (which I beleive is the base year that the IPCC uses in its report summary.)

    I do NOT beleive that any of the current changes will lead to dire consequences.

    I do NOT beleive that the Earth will automatically continue to get warmer and warmer if we fail to do anything about CO2 levels relative to where we are right now.

    I beleive that a cooling trend (relative to where we are right now) will eventually happen as part of Earth’s natural changing cycle EVEN IF CO2 levels increase substantially to where we are right now.

    I hope this gives you a better perspective of where I am coming from.

    Let me stress that I am still open to all sides of this debate. But you are going to have to present the concrete evidence to me. Simply saying that “scientists agree on the issue” is a non-starter and not a substitute for showing me the evidence. (It also goes without saying that enlisting a partisan political figure to the cause simply complicates things and makes rational inquiry much more difficult.)

    Justin Levine (20f2b5)

  10. Kevin Murphy -

    The point of all of this is to try to instill a bit of humility among those insist that global warming is primarily caused by man and will cause dire consequences if we don’t make serious policy chnages. I hope to show that the notion of science can be abused by the community of scientists based on their non-scientific political biases, and that they now have an extra burden to show that they are not engaging in such abuse. I should think that the relevence to the current global warming debate should be obvious.

    Fair enough?

    Justin Levine (20f2b5)

  11. Grotius –

    Can you give me some examples of speculations that are “beyond scientific possibility”? What exactly does it mean to be a “scientific skeptic” in your view? Was Sagan conforming to “skeptic” principles when he predicted a nuclear winter from the Kuwaiti oil fires? Maybe I’m confused about terminology here.

    Justin Levine (20f2b5)

  12. Grotius –

    Regarding your comments in # 6, please see Ray G’s comments in #4. I think he sums up my own response quite nicely.

    Justin Levine (20f2b5)

  13. Justin:

    Adam (in Comment #5) and Kevin Murphy (Comment #8) pretty well sum up my response to your original post. Your comments in #9 are much more to the point of the title of this post and more worthy of response. Maybe you should make them the body of “Part 3.”

    Speaking of skepticism, though, in “Part 1″ of this series, you seem to swallow “The Great Global Warming Swindle” whole. Why the skepticism toward the science, but none toward the documentary? Maybe this misrepresents you, but that’s how it appears.

    Doug (5d0532)

  14. Al Gore is abig time hypotcrit that the liberal lie a day left-wing journalists go gaga for i mean gore is a wealthy liberal demacrat who urges us all to conserve enegry while he uses vast quantities in just one of his homes he has not one single hybrid in his garage and none of his private planes runs by rubberband

    krazy kagu (2f4b46)

  15. Comment #2, Oregonian. Sagan is said to have challenged others to disprove his speculations. But that’s not how science works. The scientific tradition is that the burden of proof lies with the one who makes an assertion. No one has to disprove him, take him seriously, or even listen to him.

    It is helpful to recall that not all assertions by scientists are equally soundly based. Some are as true as any statement that can be made about the natural world, but others are much less sound. (I’m an Oregonian with a PhD in physics.)

    The global warming flap can be summarized in this way, like some other public issues: Something is terribly, terribly wrong. In order to avert disaster, you must give me political power!

    dchamil (700062)

  16. Whatever the merits of Justin Levine’s views on global warming, I appreciate him linking to the fascinating article on Sagan.

    Bradley J. Fikes (1c6fc4)

  17. The problem is, there is no way I can debate the merits of global warming theory. I’m a biologist, and I’d be happy to talk about molecular biology, stem cells, evolution, whether HIV causes AIDS (another topic that some believe is still debatable), etc, etc, but I don’t have the expertise to discuss global warming in any detail. So, in lieu of spending several years educating myself on the topic (we do only have a limited amount of time here on earth), I’ve tried to gain a general understanding, and, for the most part, I have to trust experts in the field. I imagine that it’s similar for you Mr. Levine. It’s just that you trust a different set of people. So, who is going to have this debate, and how are we to judge the outcome?

    Adam (40d1a3)

  18. Opinions are like assholes, everybody has one: the tag-line of american anti-intellectualism. But on the other extreme our academic class is among the most self-aggrandizing, self-important and pompous in the world. Sagan was a putz.
    We’re a nation of puritans and drunks, with people like Justin Levine and his fans being both.

    As much as I’m sympathetic to your anger at American academic blowhards, you’ve got no ideas, son. You’re running on attitude and hot air. Doug asks “why the skepticism toward the science, but none toward the documentary?”
    Why? Because the doc says the arrogant, self-righteous college geeks are wrong.
    Krazy kagu, rock on. Headbangers ball. The brick wall is right behind you. Knock your forehead against it a few times and maybe they’ll give you a spot on Jackass

    AF (c319c8)

  19. I also don’t dispute that the nature of the recent changes have brought about slight warming relative to last few hundred years.

    Comment by Justin Levine

    The earth could experience it’s coldest year in 500 years and the powers that be could claim that it was the warmest year ever and we’d have no way to challenge them.

    You just need to observe the behavior of these people and it’s obvious that they would skew the numbers to get the desired results. To paraphrase a quote attributed to Stalin:

    “The weather decides nothing. Those who calibrate the weather machines and record the weather data decide everything”.

    J Curtis (d21251)

  20. Adam,

    We’re in the same boat. I’m a reporter, and as such have no special expertise whatsover. The way I handle things is to educate myself on the topic as much as I can, see what the experts say, and look for contradictions or falsehoods. If I catch an expert dissembling, I don’t trust that expert.

    Richard Lindzen, one of the most prominent global warming skeptics, has shamelessly dissembled in the Wall Street Journal opinion pages. For example, Lindzen said in the WSJ opinion pages that the effect of GW on extratropical storms was to reduce them, when GW theorists were actually discussing the effect of GW on intensifying tropical storms, such as hurricanes. If Lindzen has so much evidence on his side, why did he misrepresent this important point? There are other examples of this kind of misrepresentation; Lindzen is not an isolated case.

    The WSJ opinion pages are frequently used for pseudoscience; I began losing confidence in it several years ago when it gave prominent space to intelligent design advocate Philip Johnson, who attacked the so-called “Church of Darwin.”

    So by all means look at the arguments on all sides. You may feel like a ping-pong ball for a while, and you won’t be able to catch all the details. But when one side repeatedly misrepresents the arguments of the other, it’s a red flag to treat that side with extra skepticism.

    It’s also true that the degree of man-caused global warming is still in dispute, and the response is a matter of political policy. But you can’t build a proper policy unless you start with the facts. We could decide, for example, simply to live with global warming, whatver its cause, and adapt our infrastructure. In California and some other Western states, precipitation will increasingly fall as rain and not snow. We may need more reservoirs to catch this rain before it runs off. Or, we could try to block part of the sun with aerosols (which is believed to have happened due to air pollution in the mid-20th century), or thin, extensive metal or plastic films in space. Again, these are just options, but you have to start with the facts.

    I’m going to watch the documentary soon and see if there’s anything I haven’t already read about.

    Bradley J. Fikes (16b734)

  21. The ipcc’s Kyoto Protocols exclude countries containing 5 billion of the Earth’s 6.5billion people from having to follow the Protocols. India and China are on track to produce nearly the equivalent of another U.S.-worth of CO2 merely over the next 15-20 years. Neither India, China, nor even the ipcc seem to believe that GW will be a net disaster or that increasing fossil fuel CO2 would be the cause of a net disaster.

    The ipcc does not recommend nuclear energy as an obvious solution to its alleged CO2 related disaster. So again it doesn’t seem to believe its own main contentions – that GW will be a net disaster and that fossil fuel CO2 is causing any warming now occurring. Moreover, the ipcc states in its TAR that it has put exactly zero effort into studying the “cost” of its own alleged cure to its alleged disease – the Kyoto Protocols.

    So how can the ipcc’s main hypotheses-conclusions be seen as believeable and its process as scientific?

    Regarding the question of the actual “process” involved in the ipcc effort, take a look at Steve McIntyre’s site, climateaudit.org..

    In 2003 Steve McIntyre and Ross Mckitrick

    http://www.climateaudit.org/pdf/mcintyre.mckitrick.2003.pdf

    took the ipcc/Mann’s famous Hockey Stick data in Mann’s paper, MBH98 – data which they initially even had trouble getting – and found “poor data handling, obsolete data, and incorrect calculation of principle components”, itemized on page 5, which allowed Steve and Ross to debunk Mann’s hockey stick claim about the shape of the earth’s temperature curve from about 1400 to 1980, and to calculate the correct curve from Mann’s own data, Figure 8, pg.18.

    The ipcc “peer reviewers” did not catch Mann’s errors. In general, the ipcc has prolmulgated the false idea that it’s own peer reviewers are the only valid ones, and that they have done a good job. But anyone doing science knows instead that the real peer review starts only after the publicaton of a paper or study, when anyone in the world can look at the paper and its data and try to replicate it or otherwise analyze it. For the process to be scientific, the data must be public. The ipcc data is often not public and/or difficult to get. The ipcc has told McIntrye that it is unethical for him to try to get the data from other authors. McIntyre has been having trouble getting Jone’s recent data on GW trends, which seems to underlie recent ipcc claims of disasterous or at least dramatic warming.

    Currently Steve has been looking at apparent “adjustments” of basic temp. data which are being made behind the scenes, starting around 1880, in which it appears that basic data is being changed so that the Global Climate Models look like they work and, of course, that a significant increasing trend in global temps is occurring, when it really might not be so. Some basic data even seems to have disappeared, and the general trend of the “adjustments” seems to be to adjust down earlier temps and adjust up more recent temps..

    Or consider the recent release of the ipcc’s Fourth Annual Report [4AR] Summary For Policy Makers [SPM]

    http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/docs/WG1AR4_SPM_PlenaryApproved.pdf.

    It was released in Feb., three months prior to the scientific basis for the Summary, the 4AR itself, which is due out in May. No one else releases the scientific conclusions prior to the data which supports them as far as I am aware. But the ipcc did this also in 2001 with the TAR, its Third Annual Report. I’m not exactly a scientific novice, so I was really irritated and very suspicious about the alleged “scientific” nature of the ipcc process even back then when I was just starting in a completely unbiased way to try to understand the GW issue myself. [I majored in Philosophy and Pre-Med, then did 28 years of E.R. med. after Med. school, so I knew I would have a good chance to understand the issue.]

    The latest SPM itself is a paltry document, imo, and not worthy itself of the $billions put toward its production. For example, In table SPM-0 on sea level increases vs Model predictions, the two columns containing only four numbers each are not even added up correctly, and make the Model predictions look better than they actually have been for predicting sea level rise.

    Steve McIntyre has also found in regard to SPM-0 that the “predicted thermal expansion” and “glaciers and ice caps” contributions for 1993-2003 have been decreased by a factor of 10 from an earlier ipcc table, without any explanation. Where is the paper explaining this and the peer review?

    Table SPM-0 claims that the Greenland and Antarctic ice masses have contributed to sea level rises, when it is pretty clear that these masses are in fact increasing in overall mass, not decreasing, and I think the ipcc even admits it, if their TAR report is still taken to be correct. So how can these ice masses provide a net increase to sea levels? Where did the water come from which increased these ice masses in a net way? Where is the paper and the data?

    The current SPM is intent upon producing more Hockey Sticks, especially as predictions about the future, but if you look at SPM-7 there is actually only one hockey stick present – for the future temp. curve – because the modelers admit/boast that they can’t explain temperatures without dominant CO2 forcing, when they also can’t explain even 1880 to current temps, especially swings down, and can’t explain the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age, as far as I can tell. In other words, they are begging the question about future temps by simply claiming that increased CO2 levels will increase temps when the Models can’t even explain the past record of ups and downs. So I don’t see that the Climate Models explain anything.

    Monckton criticizes the SPM here: http://ff.org/centers/csspp/pdf/20070201_monckton.pdf

    Roger Pielke criticizes the SPM here: http://scitizen.com/screens/blogPage/viewBlog/sw_viewBlog.php?idTheme=13&idContribution=444&PHPSESSID=7b6415c4d679d6df5c28f395d03c416e

    In merely reading the TAR [third ipcc report] itself, all I see so far is the attempt to “prove” the ipcc hypotheses at all costs, including not trying to disprove them or even mentioning some reasonable doubts and contrary data. [Also the search engine for the TAR is inadequate, and many, many references are given at chapter ends which look about impossible to go through because there is no hint as to what exactly each reference might relate to even if you could find it easily. This is simply inadequate, imo, for a scientific investigation of the ipcc's magnitude. And at worst, I consider it a obfuscatory tactic.]

    The ipcc’s claimed net disaster due to warming has not been proven, only stated and restated. For example, as admitted by the ipcc TAR in regard to the whole of Australia and New Zeland: “12.8.1…. However, it must be said that potential gains [benefits of Global Warming] have not been well documented, in part because of lack of stakeholder concern in such cases and consequent lack of special funding.”

    This statement is rather tell-tale about the ipcc’s process of assesssing possible gains vs drawbacks of global warming, imo: just what gains have been well documented and then compared to well documented drawbacks to get a net look at GW? Who were the stakeholders and how much was their special funding? I believe that overall the ipcc scientists have been bought, know it, and are just doing their jobs of “proving” the ipcc hypotheses. Otherwise they won’t have a job.

    Again, in the TAR the ipcc admits openly that it does not study at all the costs of its alleged cure to its alleged disease – the Kyoto Protocols. This is grossly unscientific and irresponsible. The cure could be worse than the disease. So far the cure does not even seem to work to decrease the rate of CO2 output/rise related to fossil fuel use, comparing Europe’s employment of the Kyoto Protocols to the U.S.’s action based on efficiency measures only.

    Another similar example of what I see in the TAR as the ipcc’s critically defective, unscientific bias and process, and its own virtual admission of this bias, is shown it its up-front word game definition that only “unnatural” causes [Humankind's activity] can possibly cause recent Global Warming, and only “unnatural” cures [Humankind's activity] can stop recent Global Warming. The ipcc admits this is what it assumed right from the outset as shown by its words and process, and so it has literally defined the cause and cure to recent GW virtually into existence as fact. This is almost certainly an intentional fault of its logic and science. Therefore, I’m claiming that the ipcc intentionally accepted no other hypotheses, thinking, senarios, or evidence on this question about the causes and cures of any Global Warming at all, which has certainly gone on in the past History of the Earth, and these other factors or causes must possibly be in effect right now, totally apart from whether humans even exist. But the ipcc has intentionally ignored this fact.

    Another example of the unscientific bent of the ipcc procsess involves the fact that the actual body of the ippc TAR report itself admits a number of critical deficiences in its own science and, therefore, critical deficiencies in its own confidence as to its own predictions. And these deficiencies and reservations are not included in its summaries or press releases.

    For example, consider the ippc’s TAR 2001 glacier section 11.2.2.1: here the ipcc scientists themselves honestly and scientifically say: “The geographical [whole World] coverage is also seriously deficient; in particular, we are lacking information on the most important maritime glacier areas.” Where does any ipcc SPM say this about its glacier studies? There are about 162,000 glaciers on earth and not many have been studied. Even among some found to have been receeding, their rate of recession has decreased over the past 60 years.

    The ipcc seems to ignore the Sun’s cycles as being explanatory of global temps, whereas Roger Pielke’s site http://climatesci.colorado.edu/ claims otherwise, somewhere on that site – I can’t find the exact post right now. Known Sun variations are shown to nearly completely parallel Global temps.

    http://climatesci.colorado.edu/ is also a good site for identifying the problems with the ipcc process. I just noticed Pielke making the known point that only a few climate scientists actually write the ipcc SPM’s, and Pielke’s observation that there are no minority or alternative positions given by the ipcc.

    These kinds of defects and criticisms of the ipcc’s process go on and on. But, finally, here’s a statement I don’t know if you saw by 60 Scientists on the matter:

    http://www.canada.com-Open Kyoto to debate
    Sixty scientists call on Harper to revisit the science of global warming
    Special to the Financial Post
    Published: Thursday, April 06, 2006
    An open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper:
    “Dear Prime Minister:
    As accredited experts in climate and related scientific disciplines, we are writing to propose that balanced, comprehensive public-consultation sessions be held so as to examine the scientific foundation of the federal government’s climate-change plans. This would be entirely consistent with your recent commitment to conduct a review of the Kyoto Protocol. Although many of us made the same suggestion to then-prime ministers Martin and Chretien, neither responded, and, to date, no formal, independent climate-science review has been conducted in Canada. Much of the billions of dollars earmarked for implementation of the protocol in Canada will be squandered without a proper assessment of recent developments in climate science.
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    “Observational evidence does not support today’s computer climate models, so there is little reason to trust model predictions of the future. Yet this is precisely what the United Nations did in creating and promoting Kyoto and still does in the alarmist forecasts on which Canada’s climate policies are based. Even if the climate models were realistic, the environmental impact of Canada delaying implementation of Kyoto or other greenhouse-gas reduction schemes, pending completion of consultations, would be insignificant. Directing your government to convene balanced, open hearings as soon as possible would be a most prudent and responsible course of action.
    “While the confident pronouncements of scientifically unqualified environmental groups may provide for sensational
    headlines, they are no basis for mature policy
    formulation. The study of global climate change is, as you have said, an “emerging science,” one that is perhaps the most complex ever tackled. It may be many years yet before we properly understand the Earth’s climate system. Nevertheless, significant advances have been made since the protocol was created, many of which are taking us away from a concern about increasing greenhouse gases. If, back in the mid-1990s, we knew what we know today about climate, Kyoto would almost certainly not exist, because we would have concluded it was not necessary.
    “We appreciate the difficulty any government has formulating sensible science-based policy when the loudest voices always seem to be pushing in the opposite direction. However, by convening open, unbiased consultations, Canadians will be permitted to hear from experts on both sides of the debate in the climate-science community. When the public comes to understand that there is no “consensus” among climate scientists about the relative importance of the various causes of global climate change, the government will be in a far better position to develop plans that reflect reality and so benefit both the environment and the economy.
    “‘Climate change is real’ is a meaningless phrase used repeatedly by activists to convince the public that a climate catastrophe is looming and humanity is the cause. Neither of these fears is justified. Global climate changes all the time due to natural causes and the human impact still remains impossible to distinguish from this natural “noise.” The new Canadian government’s commitment to reducing air, land and water pollution is commendable, but allocating funds to “stopping climate change” would be irrational. We need to continue intensive research into the real causes of climate change and help our most vulnerable citizens adapt to whatever nature throws at us next.
    “We believe the Canadian public and government decision-makers need and deserve to hear the whole story concerning this very complex issue. It was only 30 years ago that many of today’s global-warming alarmists were telling us that the world was in the midst of a global-cooling catastrophe. But the science continued to evolve, and still does, even though so many choose to ignore it when it does not fit with predetermined political agendas.
    “We hope that you will examine our proposal carefully and we stand willing and able to furnish you with more information on this crucially important topic.
    “CC: The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of the Environment, and the Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister of Natural Resources
    - – -
    Sincerely,….”

    A couple of throw-ins for perspective:
    “No matter if the science is all phony, there are collateral environmental benefits…climate change provides the greatest chance to bring about justice and equality in the world” Christine Stewart, former Canadian Environment Minister
    “Unless we announce disasters, no one will listen” Sir John Houghton, first chairman of IP

    J. Peden (467213)

  22. For me the rubber meets the road with these questions:

    1) Why are other planets in our solar system warming?

    2) Why does temperature increase before CO2 levels increase in most instances?

    3) Why did the temperature drop for 30 years starting in the 40′s when CO2 levels took off?

    4) Why have temperatures remained relatively flat for the last 10 years as CO2 levels have increaased dramatically?

    Answer those questions for me and I might jump on the AGW band wagon.

    odysseusinrtp (2c33a3)

  23. Answer those questions for me and I might jump on the AGW band wagon.

    1) Increased solar activity?

    2) See here and the original paper.

    3) Increased sulfate aerosols in the atmosphere due to burning of dirty fuels exerted a negative radiative forcing. Said sulfates decreased in the 70s when the Clean Air Act began to take effect. Did you know the mid-century cooling is correctly predicted by modern climate models?

    4) Why pick on 1998?

    Doug (5d0532)

  24. 4) Why pick on 1998?

    Interesting. But nothing provided there answers the question.

    Nothing at all.

    The Ace (085125)

  25. Said sulfates decreased in the 70s when the Clean Air Act began to take effect

    Funny stuff.
    Is this supposed to be “science”?

    The Ace (085125)

  26. But, finally, here’s a statement I don’t know if you saw by 60 Scientists on the matter:

    Some of these signers are not, as they claimed in the letter, “accredited experts in climate and related scientific disciplines”, unless you stretch the word related very far indeed. I looked up their credentials last year. Here are those I don’t think qualify:

    Benny Peiser is a social anthropologist. His home page states: “His research focuses on the effects of environmental change and catastrophic events on contemporary thought and societal evolution.”

    Paul Reiter specializes in tropical diseases such as malaria.

    Arthur Rorsch is listed on the letter as an emeritus professor of molecular genetics at Leiden University.

    Art Robinson is described as the founder of the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, where he is listed as a professor of chemistry. Much of the institute’s work is on issues such as home schooling and homeland security.

    Alister McFarquhar is listed on the letter as an “international economist”.

    Freeman J. Dyson, the eminent physicist, has expertise in quantum mechanics and nuclear physics, but is not an expert in climate science.

    So while it is just to worry about scientists such as Carl Sagan who speak out in areas beyond their expertise, let’s make sure that skepticism is applied equally all around.

    Bradley J. Fikes (16b734)

  27. If this is a dire planetary emergency, why can’t these elected Democrats do their part?

    “Well, we have a couple of Chrysler minivans. We have a Jeep. . . and a PT Cruiser up in Boston. . .and we have some SUVs. . . and an old Dodge 600 that I keep in the Senate. . . and I also have a Chevy. A big Suburban.”

    The Ace (085125)

  28. Point 1:

    Doug are you saying your link says the planets have not warmed due to increased solar activity?

    Can you explain how that graph take into account cosmic rays?

    Either way your chart is interesting.

    The graph tracks quite well with solar activity and Earth’s temperature.

    1/2 the temp increase in the last 100 years took place before 1940. From Dougs link we see an increase in sun spot activity while we also see an increase in temperatures during the same time.

    Then the sun spots weren’t quit as active and guess what… temps on Earth dropped. Then it leveled out somewhat and guess what again… so have temp’s on Earth.

    Now Doug if only you could link to how sun spot activity relates to cosmic rays that would add more interest on my part.

    Doug do you acknowledge that other planets in our solar system are warming? If so why do you think they are? If not please cite some evidence for all the ones that are warming not just Mars.

    Point 2:

    Can you point me to the point in the article where he takes into account cloud cover and how that affects CO2 levels?

    Point 3

    Sometimes our pollution makes it colder other times hotter. But its all really just about us.

    Point 4

    Why don’t you link to graphs for the stratosphere. It has cooled.

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov

    odysseusinrtp (2c33a3)

  29. Justin, this is an excellent article and spot on. Pretty clearly Sagan was using his status as a beloved scientist to delve into subjects well beyond his expertise, and to pontificate without evidence. Your “critics” in posts above are grasping at straws. I’ve not seen a single criticism that touches the core of your argument.

    Dave C. (fd4e02)

  30. Doug –

    Regarding # 13 “Why the skepticism toward the science, but none toward the documentary?”

    Simple. Because I beleive man-made global warming theorists have the burden of proof in this debate. So from that starting point, I think it is entirely appropriate to subject that side to more scrutiny. Using the Carl Sagan line of “you can’t prove that it DOESN’T exits” is fundamentally dishonest in my view.

    I’ll be happy to entertain skepticism towards the documentary if evidence is shown that I should. So far, I have been given interesting link that one of the interviewees felt he was misrepresented. Fair enough. That is worth considering as to the single point that one interviewee was trying to make in the film. However, I haven’t seen anyhting else to rebut some of the core claims though – that CO2 levels follow warming (not the other way aroung), that warming trends also correspond with increased solar activity, that other plantets have warmed at the same time as this activity, etc.

    But as a general matter in any debate, I have increased skepticism towards those who have the burden of proof than towards arguments who merely try to rebut original claims. The rebuttal can certainly be rebutted in turn though positive evidence, but that doesn’t change who has the burden of proof here.

    Justin Levine (4e4717)

  31. AF –

    Regarding comment # 18. “you’ve got no ideas, son. You’re running on attitude and hot air.”

    I invite everyone to read that comment (as well as AF’s other comments on this topic) for yourselves.

    Who exactly is running on “attitude” here with “no ideas”??

    Justin Levine (4e4717)

  32. Justin,

    Regarding the claim about other planets warming: Mars, with a roughly two-year orbit will reach perihelion on June 4. Pluto, with a 248-year orbit, reached its closest approach to the sun in 1989. Both of these planets have a much larger relative variation between perihelion and aphelion than Earth. So the influence of distance is magnified. Earth actually has its aphelion during (the Northern Hemisphere’s) summer, but because the orbit is so nearly circular, the reduction in the intensity of sunlight reaching the Earth is dwarfed by the effect of the seasonal axial tilt.

    With regard to Pluto, any discussion of its climate changes must be heavily qualified because we have not yet measured Pluto in even one full orbit.

    Here is an article from Real Climate discussing temperature changes on Mars.

    And . . .

    Here is a NASA story discussing the varying effects of distance from the sun and axial tilt among the planets.

    Bradley J. Fikes (16b734)

  33. For the past nine days my inbox has been filling up with messages labelled “Your scam exposed”, “The great fraud unravels” and “How do you feel now, asshole?”. They are referring to a new “scientific paper”, which proves that the “climate change scare” is a tale “worthier of St John the Divine than of science”.

    AF (c319c8)

  34. Here is something else worth pondering: a National Graphic News article on the Mars warming controversy.

    Here’s the thesis:
    In 2005 data from NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor and Odyssey missions revealed that the carbon dioxide “ice caps” near Mars’s south pole had been diminishing for three summers in a row.
    Habibullo Abdussamatov, head of space research at St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory in Russia, says the Mars data is evidence that the current global warming on Earth is being caused by changes in the sun.
    “The long-term increase in solar irradiance is heating both Earth and Mars,” he said.

    However, the last graf of the article say the opposite:

    “The solar irradiance began to drop in the 1990s, and a minimum will be reached by approximately 2040,” Abdussamatov said. “It will cause a steep cooling of the climate on Earth in 15 to 20 years.”

    Would someone please explain to me how a declining amount of solar radiation is causing Mars to heat up?

    Bradley J. Fikes (16b734)

  35. Well, that one was screwed up wasn’t it?
    I have to rewrite the entire thing now?

    I’ll do it the easy way: Christopher Monckton, otherwise known as Viscount Monckton of Brenchley- linked to above, a skeptic and a loon.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/story/0,,1947245,00.html

    Roger A Pielke Sr. Linked to above and not a skeptic.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_A._Pielke

    Justin L.: “Who exactly is running on “attitude” here with “no ideas”??”

    You, son.

    AF (c319c8)

  36. Roger A Pielke Sr. Linked to above and not a skeptic.

    It is amusing to watch you silly leftists use Wiki, and editable database, as a source for your information.

    Then again, you’re not bright enough to understand the correlation.

    The Ace (c58ad1)

  37. Doug:

    I skimmed through the “original paper” you linked in in your number #23. I’m not a climatologist, so I can’t give a detailed critique of the thing, but I noticed that their primary thesis is that increase in CO2 lags Antarctic temperature increase by 800 ± 200 years (Figure 4) which then provokes the North American warming that gets us out of an ice age.

    Increase in air temps causes the ocean to warm, which causes it to release its abundant CO2 supply, but it takes a long time for the outgassing to occur.

    And yet here is their conclusion:

    Although the recent CO2 increase has clearly been imposed first, as a result of anthropogenic activities, it naturally takes, at Termination III, some time for CO2 to outgas from the ocean once it starts to react to a climate change that is first felt in the atmosphere. The sequence of events during this Termination is fully consistent with CO2 participating in the latter ~4200 years of the warming. The radiative forcing due to CO2 may serve as an amplifier of initial orbital forcing, which is then further amplified by fast atmospheric feedbacks that are also at work for the present-day and future climate.”

    Am I interpreting this wrong, or did they just assert that current CO2 elevation is human-caused (not the subject of this paper’s study), which causes increased temps, which will provoke outgassing of CO2 from the ocean, which will provoke further warming?

    This is science? The assertion that current CO2 levels are anthropogenic has no citation. How can I accept their conclusions when they mix their data in with data they neither collected nor analyzed?

    dicentra (ee0916)

  38. dicentra: Both Nature and Science (the journal in which the article was published) have very tight restrictions on article length. Therefore it is common not to cite things that are considered ‘common knowledge’ in the field. It’s unfortunate, but this is one of the many problems with way in which current research is published. I’m sure Mr. Levine would agree that a switch to an online form of publication (such as in PLoS) with room for complete references and open access would be preferable to the current situation.

    Adam (40d1a3)

  39. Justin-

    In your defense (in #30), you might also quote Sagan that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof”. Claims for a global man-made disaster would seem to qualify as “extraordinary”, as would the calls for the draconian measures that some have proposed to defeat GW. Where, then, is the “extraordinary proof”? I don’t see any yet. The American Geophysical Union (AGU) has issued a statement calling for more research on GW, and while this might be criticized as being self-serving, it should be viewed as a responsible position taken by a prestigious organization of scientists who appreciate the complexity of the science of GW. I suspect that few of the commenters here (not to mention the politicians) have read the scientific and technical articles from the IPCC, and fewer still are likely to understand them. Although I am not an atmospheric physicist, I do have more than a little expertise in related areas of physics, and I find the published papers dealing with computer climate models to be impenetrable and opaque. The question is not whether such models include the complete physics or even the correct physics to describe the Earth’s climate system–they surely do not– but whether they include an “adequate” description of the climate system, one that satisfies the demand for scientific rigor and can, perhaps, be used by others as a guide for public policy in dealing with GW. The AGU’s call for further research is, in my opinion, a recognition of the difficulty we face in responding to such a complex problem with incomplete knowledge. I think theirs is a far more responsible position to take than to claim, on the one hand, that the sky is falling or, on the other, that mankind plays no role in GW. We don’t know yet. Because the stakes are potentially so high, what we need is some “extraordinary proof,” one way or the other. This may well come if future research on GW does become so politicized that dissenting voices are shut out.

    P. Simon (a0f294)

  40. Anyone who wants to judge the effectiveness of Mann et al’s hockey stick in predicting the future should check out how well (not at all, in fact) it postdicts the past. Check out the books “The Long Summer” and “The Little Ice Age” by Brian Fagan. He assembled all of the facts that were known as of the turn of the last century.

    Personally, I hope global warming is real and that the world goes up 2 degrees C. That was the temperature regime of both the Roman Warm Period (to 200 AD) and the Medieval Warm Period (650AD 1315AD) and we can certainly live with those conditions again. They had their upsides (you could grow wine grapes in England) and downsides (Europe endured a major infestation of the Danes.)

    John Costello (36a453)

  41. Correction of typo in post 40: In the last sentence, I intended to say that if future research does *NOT* become politicized.

    P. Simon (a0f294)

  42. Don’t forget the feast day for St. Urho, March 16th. St. Urho is celebrated for having chased a plague of grasshoppers out of Finland’s vineyards.

    Look, even if AGW is exactly what’s happening, someone really needs to explain why it’s bad. With the reduced temperature differential between the poles and the equator, storms should be less severe, not more.

    But then, if GW is no big deal, what will they put on their grant applications? “My research will show that there is no disaster coming, give me money?”

    Right. Never forget that there is BIG money in predicting (and solving!) world-wide catastrophes. Me, I’m still waiting on the widespread famines in the US that will leave us looking like Ethiopians.

    dicentra (ee0916)

  43. No, AF and Justin, neither of you is running on attitude with no ideas. But the mixture is different. AF has more attitude. Justin has more ideas. Furthermore the ideas are on different levels. Justin is spending more time on the meta-argument than AF.

    Generally the quality of Justin’s comments is noticably superior.

    And P. Simon’s comment? Very, very nice.

    Yours,
    Wince

    Wince and Nod (931cf0)

  44. Ace,
    here

    Now could you tell us where he says he believes in global warming as defined by you leftists?

    The Ace (933687)

  45. This is what I found on Pielke site by Dr. Syun-Ichi Akasofu:

    Since the increase began well before the rapid increase of CO2 in about 1940, this warming trend is likely to be a natural change.

    One possible cause of the linear increase may be that the Earth is still recovering from the Little Ice Age. World glaciers and sea ice in the Arctic Ocean have been receding since 1800 or earlier; these are not just recent phenomena. It seems to me that most climate researchers are so caught up in the CO2 effect, the Little Ice Age has been all but forgotten.

    In addition, multi-decadal oscillations were in a positive phase (~+0.1°C/10 years) during the last 30 years or so of the last century. These trends should be subtracted from the temperature data during the last 100 years.

    Thus, there is a possibility that only a fraction of the present warming trend may be attributed to the greenhouse effect resulting from human activities. This conclusion is contrary to the IPCC (2007) Report, which states that “most” of the present warming (+0.7°C/100 years) is due to the greenhouse effect.

    The Ace (933687)

  46. With the reduced temperature differential between the poles and the equator, storms should be less severe, not more.

    That’s what Lindzen says about extratropical storms. But the GW concern is over tropical storms such as hurricanes. These are the most damaging kind. Warmer oceans should make hurricanes more intense over the long term (50 years or more), as Lindzen’s colleage at MIT, Kerry Emanuel, explains.

    Bradley J. Fikes (16b734)

  47. A further note about computer climate models, for those who may be interested. Although I cannot be certain, and so I cannot make a blanket statement about it, based on my reading of the scientific literature, it appears that state-of-the-art climate models solve the so-called heat balance equation but do not consider radiative transfer effects on atmospheric temperatures. In laymen’s terms, the models do not rigorously treat the details of how absorbing “greenhouse” gases like water, carbon dioxide, and methane block the heat energy and prevent it from escaping into space. Because of the enormous computational burden, the models assume that if, for example, you double the density or amount of a greenhouse gas like carbon dioxide, then you double its heat-trapping ability (that is, you increase the forcing term or driving term by that amount). Such an approximation, however expedient and justifiable for computational purposes, turns an inherently non-linear problem into a linear one. That may be an Achilles’ heel, because (as the saying goes) the devil is in the non-linearities. A non-linear problem often returns counter-intuitive results (in the extreme, it could even be a slight atmospheric cooling instead of warming, although that’s unlikely, I think). A linear approach is more likely to give you the “expected” result, with no great surprises. And so, if you want to turn up the heat in a linear model, just dump more greenhouse gas into the atmosphere. Looked at in detail, the issue may not be quite as simple as I am portraying here, but then again, these are the sorts of fundamental concerns that any scientist worries about when he goes to evaluate the validity of a model, theory, or experiment. These kinds of issues will have to be looked at very carefully before we can achieve scientific or political “consensus” on the basis of what climate models predict. So far, we don’t know how good the models really are for making important policy decisions regarding GW.

    P. Simon (a0f294)

  48. Bradley,

    “Would someone please explain to me how a declining amount of solar radiation is causing Mars to heat up?”

    This is just one of the reasons I think we know so little about what is really happening. I first used the data cited by Doug to make a case for a relationship between increased solar activity and increased planetary temperature. Now I am going to attempt to make the opposite point using the same data.

    When there is increased solar activity it blocks cosmic rays. Cosmic rays increase cloud cover. With less cosmic rays reaching the earth we have reduced cloud cover hence increased temp’s. With less solar activity more comsic rays reach the planet and increase cloud cover. Hence cooling the earth.

    odysseusinrtp (2c33a3)

  49. Increased sulfate aerosols in the atmosphere due to burning of dirty fuels exerted a negative radiative forcing. Said sulfates decreased in the 70s when the Clean Air Act began to take effect.

    Problem is it doesn’t explain the cooling in the southern hemisphere.

    Did you know the mid-century cooling is correctly predicted by modern climate models?

    You cannot predict something that has already happend. You can adjust the models to curve fit the past, so what?

    Greg F (3a0590)

  50. odysseusinrtp,

    When there is increased solar activity it blocks cosmic rays. Cosmic rays increase cloud cover. With less cosmic rays reaching the earth we have reduced cloud cover hence increased temp’s. With less solar activity more comsic rays reach the planet and increase cloud cover. Hence cooling the earth.

    That’s a headache-inducing scenario to unravel, but I can see the logic to it. Is there any research you can point me to that makes this claim? What I have trouble understanding is how increased solar activity can block cosmic rays. Some cosmic rays are produced by the sun, so it would seem that by definition, increased solar activity would boost the amount of cosmic rays reaching the Earth’s atmosphere:

    Most secondary cosmic rays reaching the Earth’s surface are muons, with an average intensity of about 100 per m2 per second. Although thousands of cosmic rays pass through our bodies every minute, the resulting radiation levels are relatively low, corresponding, at sea level, to only a few percent of the natural background radiation. However, the greater intensity of cosmic rays in outer space is a potential radiation hazard for astronauts, especially when the Sun is active, and interplanetary space may suddenly be filled with solar energetic particles.

    Of course, cosmic rays from non-solar sources may be deflected by the sun’s magnetic field.

    Here is a BBC article on the sun/warming effect. It indicates that when the sun is brighter, the temp gets warmer.

    The researchers point out that the mean average temperature at Armagh seems to be related to the length of the Sun’s activity cycle. This cycle is on average 11 years in duration but it can vary a few years either way.

    “We have found that it gets cooler when the Sun’s cycle is longer and that Armagh is warmer when the cycle is shorter,” said Dr Butler.

    Scientists cannot yet fully explain how natural variations in the Sun’s brightness and activity may affect the Earth’s climate. While the Sun is about 0.1% brighter during shorter cycles the effect is not enough to account for the observed warming trend.

    Any solar scientists reading this blog are invited to explain . . .

    Bradley J. Fikes (1c6fc4)

  51. Don’t have alot of time today…

    The hypothesis, if confirmed, could also shed light on the Sun’s role in global warming. The amount of cosmic rays reaching Earth depends on solar winds, which vary in strength by space-weather conditions. Yu points out that indications of Earth’s warming have coincided with decreased cosmic ray intensity during the 20th century.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com

    Also, part of my point about above was to point out the complexity. Don’t think in terms of cosmic rays, but in terms of the wind power. Some wind comes from the sun and some from outside the solar system. How much enters the solar system could be dependant on how strong the sun is at any point in time.

    Here’s a bunch of articles.

    http://www.dsri.dk/~hsv/

    odysseusinrtp (2c33a3)

  52. Web Reconnaissance for 03/28/2007…

    A short recon of what’s out there that might draw…

    The Thunder Run (59ce3a)

  53. odysseusinrtp,

    Thank you for those links. They will keep me busy today.

    And thanks to all here for your kindness to us refugees from Cathy’s World.

    Bradley J. Fikes (1c6fc4)

  54. I have increased skepticism towards those who have the burden of proof than towards arguments who merely try to rebut original claims.

    Thanks for explaining.

    Doug (5d0532)

  55. You cannot predict something that has already happend. You can adjust the models to curve fit the past, so what?

    The models are written using first principles and theory, then their predictions are compared against empirical data to evaluate them. And yes, you use those evaluations to improve the models (or select the best of many available models).

    Doug (5d0532)

  56. 4) Why pick on 1998?
    Interesting. But nothing provided there answers the question.

    1998 was an amazingly warm year thanks to the strongest El Niño of the century. Take it out and you can no longer call recent temperatures “relatively flat.” In fact, they have returned to 1998 levels “without the help of an El Niño”.

    Doug (5d0532)

  57. Said sulfates decreased in the 70s when the Clean Air Act began to take effect
    Funny stuff.
    Is this supposed to be “science”?

    Depends on what you mean by science, I guess.

    I made a mistake, though. Sulfates in the U.S. have decreased substantially since the 70s. Worldwide, probably not so much (couldn’t find concrete data). Since the middle of the last century, though, positive forcing from greenhouse gases has rapidly outstripped negative forcing from sulfates, which is what I should have written originally. I apologize for my error.

    Doug (5d0532)

  58. Doug are you saying your link says the planets have not warmed due to increased solar activity?

    No, I have no idea why other planets have warmed recently, but I thank Bradley J. Fikes for his interesting comments on the topic.

    Here is an interesting paper (PDF format) that makes a convincing argument that solar forcing accounted for about half of 1900-1950 warming, but a much smaller fraction of post-1950 warming. (A decent argument could be made that a fall off of solar forcing contributed to the 1940s cooling.)

    No one, least of all me, is claiming that the sun doesn’t have an effect on climate change. The current issue is the much larger (and increasing) anthropogenic effect.

    Doug (5d0532)

  59. Basically, as a geologist, I don’t see much of anything of note in this current interglacial period as compared to previous ones when I took a look at global warming. Yes I do take into consideration a full 800 million years and a bit more, and what the entire history of the Earth has as atmosphere and such. So we are seeing a minor fluctuation of 10% or so of temperature and other things, so what? Interglacial periods are notorious for erratic temperature and climate changes that swing within a temperature region and then something triggers a quick downturn, back to glaciation.

    Are we heading back to the balmy days of the Cretaceous? Unlikely, as tectonic activity then broke up the last supercontinent, and caused less dense continental crust to ride higher than oceanic floor crustal material. The result was oceans receding into the deeper basins and *off* of the continents. Until then the continents had nice, shallow seas which raised overall global temperature and stabilized it. Also seen during that period starting around 70 million years ago, was Antarctica moving into the southern polar regions, which would have dramatic effects on global wind and oceanic patterns and give the planet one of its rare terrestrial heat sinks. Along with faster moving plates comes increased subduction of oceanic plates, leading to greatly increased volcanic activity, and to mountain building of which the Himalayas are the best example, still heading upwards as the Indian subcontinent pushes into Asia. Those also changed global wind patterns and you can find fossilized sea floor sediment at the top of Everest, so the ocean that was above it is *gone*.

    Carbon dioxide fluctuates over Earth’s history and is only weakly associated, at its lowest levels, with glacial periods with interstices between such periods. Generally the planet prefers nice, large continents, slowly moving plates and large shallow seas and the temperature at those times is 14 degrees above where it is today, on average. The worst that carbon dioxide has ever been is *not* in the modern era, where it is dinking around at ~300 ppm +/- 15%… but during the Carboniferous at 7,000 ppm and previously when calcium carbonate precipitated from oceans in deep layers, often just by chemistry and not via shell accumulation.

    But then long-range climatological analysis on a global scale is something that is the realm of geologists…not meteorologists nor physicists. They all play their role, but they must be understood as a continuum for something the size of a planet. As it stands global warming is the equivalent of a bad hair day compared to what will happen sooner or later. And a lot of those are coming due *sooner*, geologically speaking.

    ajacksonian (87eccd)

  60. ““relatively flat.” In fact, they have returned to 1998 levels “without the help of an El Niño”.”

    Sure if you continue to ignore the stratospheric cooling.

    Still temps look relatively flat for the last 10 years as CO2 has taken off.

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov

    odysseusinrtp (2c33a3)

  61. The models are written using first principles and theory, then their predictions are compared against empirical data to evaluate them.

    You don’t know what you are talking about. Every climate model uses parameterizations to account for sub-gridscale processes. Clouds are but one example.

    Greg F (3a0590)

  62. #28: Doug are you saying your link says the planets have not warmed due to increased solar activity?

    Not at all. Actually, I was trying to anticipate why you thought they were. Personally I’m not convinced they are, but I thank Bradley J. Fikes for his interesting comments on the topic.

    Here is an interesting paper (PDF format) that makes a convincing argument that solar forcing accounted for about half of 1900-1950 warming, but a much smaller fraction of post-1950 warming. (A decent argument could be made that a fall off of solar forcing contributed to the 1940s cooling.)

    No one, least of all me, is claiming that the sun doesn’t have an effect on climate change. The current issue is the much larger (and increasing) anthropogenic effect.

    Can you point me to the point in the article where he takes into account cloud cover and how that affects CO2 levels?

    I don’t think he does. There are many positive and negative feedbacks in climate change, cloud cover included, but how can one reconstruct historical cloud cover? The article compared two important forcings, solar and greenhouse gas, and concluded that the former initiated deglaciation and the latter amplified it. This conclusion complies with modern climate theory, but was distorted by others who say that the CO2 increase was caused by the solar forcing (probably true) but did not contribute to subsequent temperature increase (not true).

    Sometimes our pollution makes it colder other times hotter.

    Different pollutants, different effects, different emission rates.

    St. Urho is celebrated for having chased a plague of grasshoppers out of Finland’s vineyards.

    Someone’s been celebrating a bit too hard.

    #61: Every climate model uses parameterizations to account for sub-gridscale processes.

    I have some (admittedly limited) experience with parameterization in models, but judging from your tone, you must have more. So help us out.

    Parameterization, as I understand it, is the deliberate over-simplification of theory in computer models in order to decrease processing time and account for unrepresented physical processes. This can take the form of an empirical forcing term (using historical data). Subsequent comparison with historical data can help determine which parameterizations are better at representing the underlying natural dynamics.

    I don’t think I misrepresented climate models by leaving this out, but if you do, I thank you for bringing it up.

    I do think it is misrepresentation to call it curve-fitting. For one, there is a limit to the number of parameters available and adding terms increases computation time. Second, parameterization and evaluation of models are done using different datasets (e.g., time-periods), though you should of course scrutinize the extent to which this is actually done.

    #60 if you continue to ignore the stratospheric cooling.

    We were talking about surface temperatures. I don’t know much about the stratosphere, but these sources indicate that cooling in the stratosphere is expected for an increase in greenhouse gases. Counterintuitive at first, but it makes sense once you think about the mechanisms involved.

    (BTW, you linked to a graph showing surface temperatures. Here’s one for the stratosphere. It does look like it leveled off about 10 years ago, and with much more variation between the sources. Very curious.)

    #59 As it stands global warming is the equivalent of a bad hair day

    Ahh, geologists, ever patient, await plate tectonics to solve our modern problems!

    Doug (3b32e8)

  63. Is anyone else having problems with comments not showing up? It seems like many of mine are being caught by some automatic filter. Are they too long? Too short? Too many links? It would be nice to know what’s expected.

    #28: Doug are you saying your link says the planets have not warmed due to increased solar activity?

    Not at all. Actually, I was trying to anticipate why you thought they were. Personally I’m not convinced they are, but I thank Bradley J. Fikes for his interesting comments on the topic.

    Here is an interesting paper (PDF format) that makes a convincing argument that solar forcing accounted for about half of 1900-1950 warming, but a much smaller fraction of post-1950 warming. (A decent argument could be made that a fall off of solar forcing contributed to the 1940s cooling.)

    No one, least of all me, is claiming that the sun doesn’t have an effect on climate change. The current issue is the much larger (and increasing) anthropogenic effect.

    Can you point me to the point in the article where he takes into account cloud cover and how that affects CO2 levels?

    I don’t think he does. There are many positive and negative feedbacks in climate change, cloud cover included, but how can one reconstruct historical cloud cover? The article compared two important forcings, solar and greenhouse gas, and concluded that the former initiated deglaciation and the latter amplified it. This conclusion complies with modern climate theory, but was distorted by others who say that the CO2 increase was caused by the solar forcing (probably true) but did not contribute to subsequent temperature increase (not true).

    Sometimes our pollution makes it colder other times hotter.

    Different pollutants, different effects, different emission rates.

    St. Urho is celebrated for having chased a plague of grasshoppers out of Finland’s vineyards.

    Someone’s been celebrating a bit too hard.

    #61: Every climate model uses parameterizations to account for sub-gridscale processes.

    I have some (admittedly limited) experience with parameterization in models, but judging from your tone, you must have more. So help us out.

    Parameterization, as I understand it, is the deliberate over-simplification of theory in computer models in order to decrease processing time and account for unrepresented physical processes. This can take the form of an empirical forcing term (using historical data). Subsequent comparison with historical data can help determine which parameterizations are better at representing the underlying natural dynamics.

    I don’t think I misrepresented climate models by leaving this out, but if you do, I thank you for bringing it up.

    I do think it is misrepresentation to call it curve-fitting. For one, there is a limit to the number of parameters available and adding terms increases computation time. Second, parameterization and evaluation of models is done using different datasets (e.g., time-periods), though you should of course scrutinize the extent to which this is actually done.

    #60 if you continue to ignore the stratospheric cooling.

    We were talking about surface temperatures. I don’t know much about the stratosphere, but these sources indicate that cooling in the stratosphere is expected for an increase in greenhouse gases. Counterintuitive at first, but it makes sense once you think about the mechanisms involved.

    (BTW, you linked to a graph showing surface temperatures. Here’s one for the stratosphere. It does look like it leveled off about 10 years ago, and with much more variation between the sources. Very curious.)

    #59 As it stands global warming is the equivalent of a bad hair day

    Ahh, geologists, ever patient, await plate tectonics to solve our modern problems!

    Doug (3b32e8)

  64. Is anyone else having problems with comments not showing up? It seems like many of mine are being caught by some automatic filter. Are they too long? Too short? Too many links? It would be nice to know what’s expected.

    #28: Doug are you saying your link says the planets have not warmed due to increased solar activity?

    Not at all. Actually, I was trying to anticipate why you thought they were. Personally I’m not convinced they are, but I thank Bradley J. Fikes for his interesting comments on the topic.

    Here is an interesting paper (PDF format) that makes a convincing argument that solar forcing accounted for about half of 1900-1950 warming, but a much smaller fraction of post-1950 warming. (A decent argument could be made that a fall off of solar forcing contributed to the 1940s cooling.)

    No one, least of all me, is claiming that the sun doesn’t have an effect on climate change. The current issue is the much larger (and increasing) anthropogenic effect.

    Can you point me to the point in the article where he takes into account cloud cover and how that affects CO2 levels?

    I don’t think he does. There are many positive and negative feedbacks in climate change, cloud cover included, but how can one reconstruct historical cloud cover? The article compared two important forcings, solar and greenhouse gas, and concluded that the former initiated deglaciation and the latter amplified it. This conclusion complies with modern climate theory, but was distorted by others who say that the CO2 increase was caused by the solar forcing (probably true) but did not contribute to subsequent temperature increase (not true).

    Sometimes our pollution makes it colder other times hotter.

    Different pollutants, different effects, different emission rates.

    St. Urho is celebrated for having chased a plague of grasshoppers out of Finland’s vineyards.

    Someone’s been celebrating a bit too hard.

    #61: Every climate model uses parameterizations to account for sub-gridscale processes.

    I have some (admittedly limited) experience with parameterization in models, but judging from your tone, you must have more. So help us out.

    Parameterization, as I understand it, is the deliberate over-simplification of theory in computer models in order to decrease processing time and account for unrepresented physical processes. This can take the form of an empirical forcing term (using historical data). Subsequent comparison with historical data can help determine which parameterizations are better at representing the underlying natural dynamics.

    I don’t think I misrepresented climate models by leaving this out, but if you do, I thank you for bringing it up.

    I do think it is misrepresentation to call it curve-fitting. For one, there is a limit to the number of parameters available and adding terms increases computation time. Second, parameterization and evaluation of models is done using different datasets (e.g., time-periods), though you should of course scrutinize the extent to which this is actually done.

    #60 if you continue to ignore the stratospheric cooling.

    We were talking about surface temperatures. I don’t know much about the stratosphere, but these sources indicate that cooling in the stratosphere is expected for an increase in greenhouse gases. Counterintuitive at first, but it makes sense once you think about the mechanisms involved.

    (BTW, you linked to a graph showing surface temperatures. Here’s one for the stratosphere:
    http://hadobs.metoffice.com/hadat/images/update_images/global_upper_air.png
    It does look like it leveled off about 10 years ago, and with much more variation between the sources. Very curious.)

    #59 As it stands global warming is the equivalent of a bad hair day

    Ahh, geologists, ever patient, await plate tectonics to solve our modern problems!

    Doug (3b32e8)

  65. Is anyone else having problems with comments not showing up? It seems like many of mine are being caught by some automatic filter. Are they too long? Too short? Too many links? It would be nice to know what’s expected.

    #28: Doug are you saying your link says the planets have not warmed due to increased solar activity?

    Not at all. Actually, I was trying to anticipate why you thought they were. Personally I’m not convinced they are, but I thank Bradley J. Fikes for his interesting comments on the topic.

    Here is an interesting paper (PDF format) that makes a convincing argument that solar forcing accounted for about half of 1900-1950 warming, but a much smaller fraction of post-1950 warming. (A decent argument could be made that a fall off of solar forcing contributed to the 1940s cooling.)
    http://climate.envsci.rutgers.edu/pdf/StottEtAl.pdf

    No one, least of all me, is claiming that the sun doesn’t have an effect on climate change. The current issue is the much larger (and increasing) anthropogenic effect.

    Can you point me to the point in the article where he takes into account cloud cover and how that affects CO2 levels?

    I don’t think he does. There are many positive and negative feedbacks in climate change, cloud cover included, but how can one reconstruct historical cloud cover? The article compared two important forcings, solar and greenhouse gas, and concluded that the former initiated deglaciation and the latter amplified it. This conclusion complies with modern climate theory, but was distorted by others who say that the CO2 increase was caused by the solar forcing (probably true) but did not contribute to subsequent temperature increase (not true).

    Sometimes our pollution makes it colder other times hotter.

    Different pollutants, different effects, different emission rates.

    St. Urho is celebrated for having chased a plague of grasshoppers out of Finland’s vineyards.

    Someone’s been celebrating a bit too hard.

    #61: Every climate model uses parameterizations to account for sub-gridscale processes.

    I have some (admittedly limited) experience with parameterization in models, but judging from your tone, you must have more. So help us out.

    Parameterization, as I understand it, is the deliberate over-simplification of theory in computer models in order to decrease processing time and account for unrepresented physical processes. This can take the form of an empirical forcing term (using historical data). Subsequent comparison with historical data can help determine which parameterizations are better at representing the underlying natural dynamics.

    I don’t think I misrepresented climate models by leaving this out, but if you do, I thank you for bringing it up.

    I do think it is misrepresentation to call it curve-fitting. For one, there is a limit to the number of parameters available and adding terms increases computation time. Second, parameterization and evaluation of models is done using different datasets (e.g., time-periods), though you should of course scrutinize the extent to which this is actually done.

    #60 if you continue to ignore the stratospheric cooling.

    We were talking about surface temperatures. I don’t know much about the stratosphere, but these sources indicate that cooling in the stratosphere is expected for an increase in greenhouse gases. Counterintuitive at first, but it makes sense once you think about the mechanisms involved.

    (BTW, you linked to a graph showing surface temperatures. Here’s one for the stratosphere:
    http://hadobs.metoffice.com/hadat/images/update_images/global_upper_air.png
    It does look like it leveled off about 10 years ago, and with much more variation between the sources. Very curious.)

    #59 As it stands global warming is the equivalent of a bad hair day

    Ahh, geologists, ever patient, await plate tectonics to solve our modern problems!

    Doug (3b32e8)

  66. Is anyone else having problems with comments not showing up? It seems like many of mine are being caught by some automatic filter. Are they too long? Too short? Too many links? Am I blacklisted? It would be nice to know what’s expected. I’m going to split this one up and see if that helps.

    #28: Doug are you saying your link says the planets have not warmed due to increased solar activity?

    Not at all. Actually, I was trying to anticipate why you thought they were. Personally I’m not convinced they are, but I thank Bradley J. Fikes for his interesting comments on the topic.

    Here is an interesting paper (PDF format) that makes a convincing argument that solar forcing accounted for about half of 1900-1950 warming, but a much smaller fraction of post-1950 warming. (A decent argument could be made that a fall off of solar forcing contributed to the 1940s cooling.)

    No one, least of all me, is claiming that the sun doesn’t have an effect on climate change. The current issue is the much larger (and increasing) anthropogenic effect.

    Can you point me to the point in the article where he takes into account cloud cover and how that affects CO2 levels?

    I don’t think he does. There are many positive and negative feedbacks in climate change, cloud cover included, but how can one reconstruct historical cloud cover? The article compared two important forcings, solar and greenhouse gas, and concluded that the former initiated deglaciation and the latter amplified it. This conclusion complies with modern climate theory, but was distorted by others who say that the CO2 increase was caused by the solar forcing (probably true) but did not contribute to subsequent temperature increase (not true).

    Sometimes our pollution makes it colder other times hotter.

    Different pollutants, different effects, different emission rates.

    St. Urho is celebrated for having chased a plague of grasshoppers out of Finland’s vineyards.

    Someone’s been celebrating a bit too hard.

    Doug (3b32e8)

  67. Is anyone else having problems with comments not showing up? It seems like many of mine are being caught by some automatic filter. Are they too long? Too short? Too many links? Am I blacklisted? It would be nice to know what’s expected.

    #28: Doug are you saying your link says the planets have not warmed due to increased solar activity?

    Not at all. Actually, I was trying to anticipate why you thought they were. Personally I’m not convinced they are, but I thank Bradley J. Fikes for his interesting comments on the topic.

    Here is an interesting paper (PDF format) that makes a convincing argument that solar forcing accounted for about half of 1900-1950 warming, but a much smaller fraction of post-1950 warming. (A decent argument could be made that a fall off of solar forcing contributed to the 1940s cooling.)

    No one, least of all me, is claiming that the sun doesn’t have an effect on climate change. The current issue is the much larger (and increasing) anthropogenic effect.

    Can you point me to the point in the article where he takes into account cloud cover and how that affects CO2 levels?

    I don’t think he does. There are many positive and negative feedbacks in climate change, cloud cover included, but how can one reconstruct historical cloud cover? The article compared two important forcings, solar and greenhouse gas, and concluded that the former initiated deglaciation and the latter amplified it. This conclusion complies with modern climate theory, but was distorted by others who say that the CO2 increase was caused by the solar forcing (probably true) but did not contribute to subsequent temperature increase (not true).

    Sometimes our pollution makes it colder other times hotter.

    Different pollutants, different effects, different emission rates.

    St. Urho is celebrated for having chased a plague of grasshoppers out of Finland’s vineyards.

    Someone’s been celebrating a bit too hard.

    #61: Every climate model uses parameterizations to account for sub-gridscale processes.

    I have some (admittedly limited) experience with parameterization in models, but judging from your tone, you must have more. So help us out.

    Parameterization, as I understand it, is the deliberate over-simplification of theory in computer models in order to decrease processing time and account for unrepresented physical processes. This can take the form of an empirical forcing term (using historical data). Subsequent comparison with historical data can help determine which parameterizations are better at representing the underlying natural dynamics.

    I don’t think I misrepresented climate models by leaving this out, but if you do, I thank you for bringing it up.

    I do think it is misrepresentation to call it curve-fitting. For one, there is a limit to the number of parameters available and adding terms increases computation time. Second, parameterization and evaluation of models is done using different datasets (e.g., time-periods), though you should of course scrutinize the extent to which this is actually done.

    #60 if you continue to ignore the stratospheric cooling.

    We were talking about surface temperatures. I don’t know much about the stratosphere, but these sources indicate that cooling in the stratosphere is expected for an increase in greenhouse gases. Counterintuitive at first, but it makes sense once you think about the mechanisms involved.

    (BTW, you linked to a graph showing surface temperatures. Here’s one for the stratosphere. It does look like it leveled off about 10 years ago, and with much more variation between the sources. Very curious.)

    #59 As it stands global warming is the equivalent of a bad hair day

    Ahh, geologists, ever patient, await plate tectonics to solve our modern problems!

    Still Doug (3b32e8)

  68. Is anyone else having problems with comments not showing up? It seems like many of mine are being caught by some automatic filter. Are they too long? Too short? Too many links? Am I blacklisted? It would be nice to know what’s expected. I’m going to split this one up and see if that helps.

    #28: Doug are you saying your link says the planets have not warmed due to increased solar activity?

    Not at all. Actually, I was trying to anticipate why you thought they were. Personally I’m not convinced they are, but I thank Bradley J. Fikes for his interesting comments on the topic.

    Here is an interesting paper (PDF format) that makes a convincing argument that solar forcing accounted for about half of 1900-1950 warming, but a much smaller fraction of post-1950 warming. (A decent argument could be made that a fall off of solar forcing contributed to the 1940s cooling.)

    No one, least of all me, is claiming that the sun doesn’t have an effect on climate change. The current issue is the much larger (and increasing) anthropogenic effect.

    Can you point me to the point in the article where he takes into account cloud cover and how that affects CO2 levels?

    I don’t think he does. There are many positive and negative feedbacks in climate change, cloud cover included, but how can one reconstruct historical cloud cover? The article compared two important forcings, solar and greenhouse gas, and concluded that the former initiated deglaciation and the latter amplified it. This conclusion complies with modern climate theory, but was distorted by others who say that the CO2 increase was caused by the solar forcing (probably true) but did not contribute to subsequent temperature increase (not true).

    Sometimes our pollution makes it colder other times hotter.

    Different pollutants, different effects, different emission rates.

    #61: Every climate model uses parameterizations to account for sub-gridscale processes.

    I have some (admittedly limited) experience with parameterization in models, but judging from your tone, you must have more. So help us out.

    Parameterization, as I understand it, is the deliberate over-simplification of theory in computer models in order to decrease processing time and account for unrepresented physical processes. This can take the form of an empirical forcing term (using historical data). Subsequent comparison with historical data can help determine which parameterizations are better at representing the underlying natural dynamics.

    I don’t think I misrepresented climate models by leaving this out, but if you do, I thank you for bringing it up.

    I do think it is misrepresentation to call it curve-fitting. For one, there is a limit to the number of parameters available and adding terms increases computation time. Second, parameterization and evaluation of models is done using different datasets (e.g., time-periods), though you should of course scrutinize the extent to which this is actually done.

    #60 if you continue to ignore the stratospheric cooling.

    We were talking about surface temperatures. I don’t know much about the stratosphere, but these sources indicate that cooling in the stratosphere is expected for an increase in greenhouse gases. Counterintuitive at first, but it makes sense once you think about the mechanisms involved.

    (BTW, you linked to a graph showing surface temperatures. Here’s one for the stratosphere. It does look like it leveled off about 10 years ago, and with much more variation between the sources. Very curious.)

    #59 As it stands global warming is the equivalent of a bad hair day

    Ahh, geologists, ever patient, await plate tectonics to solve our modern problems!

    Doug (3b32e8)

  69. Is anyone else having problems with comments not showing up? It seems like many of mine are being caught by some automatic filter. Are they too long? Too short? Too many links? Am I blacklisted? It would be nice to know what’s expected.

    #28: Doug are you saying your link says the planets have not warmed due to increased solar activity?

    Not at all. Actually, I was trying to anticipate why you thought they were. Personally I’m not convinced they are, but I thank Bradley J. Fikes for his interesting comments on the topic.

    Here is an interesting paper (PDF format) that makes a convincing argument that solar forcing accounted for about half of 1900-1950 warming, but a much smaller fraction of post-1950 warming. (A decent argument could be made that a fall off of solar forcing contributed to the 1940s cooling.)

    No one, least of all me, is claiming that the sun doesn’t have an effect on climate change. The current issue is the much larger (and increasing) anthropogenic effect.

    Can you point me to the point in the article where he takes into account cloud cover and how that affects CO2 levels?

    I don’t think he does. There are many positive and negative feedbacks in climate change, cloud cover included, but how can one reconstruct historical cloud cover? The article compared two important forcings, solar and greenhouse gas, and concluded that the former initiated deglaciation and the latter amplified it. This conclusion complies with modern climate theory, but was distorted by others who say that the CO2 increase was caused by the solar forcing (probably true) but did not contribute to subsequent temperature increase (not true).

    Sometimes our pollution makes it colder other times hotter.

    Different pollutants, different effects, different emission rates.

    Doug (3b32e8)

  70. Is anyone else having problems with comments not showing up? It seems like many of mine are being caught by some automatic filter. Are they too long? Too short? Too many links? Am I blacklisted? It would be nice to know what’s expected.

    I tried posting some responses but failed. I will try again tomorrow.

    It would also be nice to have a contact form to ask the site’s owner this question. There are many available as WordPress plugins. I just wrote one myself!

    Doug (3b32e8)

  71. Holy smokes! I guess there was just a delay on the comment form. If the site owners would kindly delete my duplicate comments (#64-71), I’ll just go sit in the corner and keep my big trap shut…

    Doug (5d0532)

  72. Adam –

    Re: Comment # 17. You pose some great questions and challenges there. Obviously, an individual cannot absorb even a fraction of human knowledge over the course of a lifetime. As a result, we need to rely on ‘experts’ in order to create informational shortcuts in life that can help fuel progress (Otherwise, each generation would be stuck trying to relearn the same information over and over and we would become stuck in our progress).

    However, anytime you rely on ‘experts’, you also open yourself up to being duped and taken advatange of (Think of the social science of lawyers, politicians, car repairmen, traditional media, etc.).

    So the key question then becomes: How do we guard against abuse by ‘experts’ without disrupting legitimate attempts to educate the non-expert group?

    I’m sorry that I haven’t been able to respond sooner, but the answer will require a lengthy response that will likely end up as a seperate post. I do have a response though. Fair enough? Stay tuned.

    Justin Levine (20f2b5)


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