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SayUncle: The earth is flat and there was no holocaust

It’s true. You see, according to Kevin, when it comes to things that are all sciency ‘n’ shit, the scientists hold a vote and whoever gets the most votes wins the game at determining what things are scientific fact vs. what is scientific theory. As Stormy said in comments:

Contrary to common belief, science is not the process of gathering a hundred experts in a room and having them vote on what they think the truth is.

See, after they have that vote, a point is no longer debatable. And if you, being the guy who vaguely remembers something about the scientific method from the eighth grade, point out that consensus does not equal fact, then you are no better than a person who believes that the Earth is flat nor are you better than a person who denies the holocaust happened. Hell, while I’m at it, I also believe that my truck is powered by two hamsters and a rubber band; that gnomes are stealing my odd socks; and that Chimpy McHitlerburton’s daddy planted an Uncle Tom Supreme Court Justice in 1991 as part of an elaborate plot to steal the election in 2000 that they knew was coming nine years in advance!

You see, yours truly touched upon the sacred cow of Bushitler hating: Global warming. While I acknowledged that global warming is real (the Earth’s temperature has gone up between 0.4 and 0.8 degrees Celsius in the last 100 or so years), I take issue with the extent to which human activity has attributed to that. And I point out that there is no scientific fact established that human influence has affected global warming significantly. And, in a bit of dramatic irony so hot that it will surely raise the temperature of the earth another 0.01 degree centigrade or two, we’re debating it which makes it debatable.

Yes, I know, those coal-fired steam plants at TVA do more damage to the Earth than every SUV in the state; that mother nature can just decide that there will be an ice age on, say, Thursday; and that the Earth’s temperature has only really stabilized in the last few tens of thousands of years, which is insignificant when compared to the age of the planet; but I’m clearly a Flat Earther. And despite that last comment, I also think that Scientologists have been watching our planet since it’s creation, which was 6,000 years ago, by God.

But it’s not that I think humans have no effect on the Earth’s temperature. Rather, it’s the fact that there are so many other factors that play a part in the equation. The Earth is complex, as is weather. Whether or not humans are some sort of primary cause is entirely debatable as there are many natural things that affect the Earth. We do have ice ages, you know, but (thankfully) the industrial revolution happened shortly after our last one and warmed the earth up.

And, yes, I’m fully aware of the general asininity of this post of equating various ridiculous things with other things but that’s what my AmeriKKKan Rethuglican overlords tell me to do. That was rather the point, actually. And, yes, there is validity to scientific theory but it is not the same sense of absoluteness associated with verifiable scientific fact. When you proclaim that something is not debatable, you’ve basically admitted that there’s no convincing you otherwise. Then, if you’re Kevin, you point out that same shortcoming (whether it exists or not) in others because you’re not capable of admitting that something may be debatable after all.

Update: And Jesus and Santa Claus teamed up once to do battle with Dinosaurs and, subsequently, saved humanity.

48 Responses to “SayUncle: The earth is flat and there was no holocaust”

  1. Manish Says:

    What amuses me most in the whole global warming thing is that you have people who laugh at the notion that 9/11 was a conspiracy by the US government, Kennedy’s assasination, moon-landing, etc., but then endorse a conspiracy that all these scientists around the world are anti-technology and are making up stuff about humans causing global warming and that the scientists funded by right-wing groups are clearly the ones that are right.

  2. R. Neal Says:

    Your forgot volcanoes!

  3. JustinB Says:

    Dont forget about cows…cow farts contribute a significant amount to global warming/methane production. Then again we eat cows so its our fault.

  4. countertop Says:

    I don’t blog (and I shouldn’t comment) about this but I will just point out that the money trail is pretty damn clear and the vast vast vast majority of all those scientists havn’t the slightest what they are talking about (well, not that they aren’t smart but think of it sort of as if your podiatrist was opining on heart surgery) and instead simply signed onto one of a number of letters floated by collegues in the academy putting forth a theory in support of Michael Mann’s (proprietary – as in no one can look at the underlying data and assumptions) model.

    Perhaps we can talk about the issue in more depth when I get down next time.

  5. Les Jones Says:

    Same thing here, Uncle. There’s definitely been global warming, but it’s not clear:

    – why it’s happening, and in particular whether it’s anthropogenic
    – whether much can be done if it is due to human activity – full implementation of Kyoto would only slow things down a few decades, not fix the problem.
    – whether the net effect will be positive, negative, or neutral (the climate has been radically different in the past; it’s sort of naive to think that we’re living in the best of all worlds with the best of all climates)

    Here’s a study published in International Geophysical Letters that suggests that 10 to 30% of warming in the past two decades was due to solar influence. No one in the global warming crowd wants to talk about solar influence, because it doesn’t help their political agenda.

  6. kevin Says:

    Uncle

    Oh whah. This is the whiniest post I have seen you write. I mean, seriously, Bushhitler? That’s right, the only possible reason anyone could have for thinking that humans are the primary cause of global warming is because they hate Bush and not because the scientific consensus tells them so. Oh, that liberal science, always out to get the GOP and libertarians with its theories and evidence and experiments.

    And pretending that scientific consensus is a democratic process is bullshit and you know that, or you should, for someone who seems so impressed with his own knowledge of the scientific method. Scientific consensus is arrived at by the repetition of experiments, by the slow accumulation of evidence and the testing and discarding of theories as experiments and evidence arrive. It is not a democracy, it is a meritocracy.

    And as for your contention, if you had read the excerpt I posted, you have seen that the scientists –the ones who continued to use the scientific method past the eighth grade — don’t think much of them:

    This position is equally out of step with science, where the debate over this question has also now been settled.

    Data show that carbon dioxide levels are rising, they are now 30% higher than at any time during at least the past 650,000 years, and likely even the past several million years. This rise is caused entirely by human activities. This is also demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt by data – for a start, we know how much CO2 we have emitted, and the observed rise is equal to 57% of this (the rest has been taken up by ocean and biosphere). That carbon dioxide acts as a greenhouse gas, trapping longwave radiation, is also a measured fact and well-established physics since the 19th Century. For a doubling of CO2 concentration, this amounts to a radiative forcing of 3.7 Watts per square meter, which in equilibrium would cause a warming of around 3 ºC (that’s the climate sensitivity discussed by us here). The rise of CO2, plus some other gases like methane, is already causing a forcing of 2.7 Watts per square meter. In equilibrium, you therefore expect a warming of 2 ºC based solely on the human-caused rise in greenhouse gas concentration. But there’s a time lag due to ocean heat uptake (”thermal intertia”), so that up to half the expected warming would still be in the pipeline and not here yet (this is shown by models and confirmed by oceanographic data, Hansen et al. 2005). That means: this rough calculation shows that the human-caused increase in greenhouse gases can explain at least 1 ºC of global warming. The observed warming is 0.8 ºC – this is less than what would be expected from greenhouse gases alone, because greenhouse gases are of course not the only factor that affects climate – there is a cooling effect by aerosols which counteracts part of the warming.

    What about a “natural” explanation for the observed global warming? There is none. Indicators and measurements of solar activity show no increasing trend over the past 60 years. The orbital cycles, which cause the ice ages, would currently tend towards cooling, if anything. There is no remotely feasible alternative explanation for the observed warming published in the scientific literature. The “fundamental debate” postulated by Bush is a media phenomenon – to use the words of ABC News, a “con job” by special interest groups. It is not a debate that is ongoing in the scientific community. The numerous, often hair-raising arguments that have been brought forward as part of this “con job” have been thoroughly refuted many times.

    the original has the links.

    As for the flat earth and holocaust denier stuff, you know that I never aid that you believed those things. But your insistence that there is a scientific debate because not 100% of the scientists sign on to the consensus and so therefore there must be debate is precisely the same reasoning that those kind of people use. If it angers you to have that pointed out, then I would suggest that the proper response is to either demonstrate why you are not doing that or ask yourself why you are doing it.

    Pretending that people accused of being a holocaust denier or a flat earther when they did not do so does neither.

  7. Masked Menace© Says:

    All, I’ve got to say is that it is amazing how many times scientific consensus has been wrong.

    It wasn’t a conspiracy, it was just that since “consensus said it was so” no-one bothered to really look anymore (and those that did were likely shouted down because we already “knew” the answer).

  8. Blake Says:

    The earth gets hotter…and the earth gets colder….all of this has been happening well before humans could ever affect it. The area we live in now in Tennessee used to be tropical at one time. I’ve found shark teeth in northern Alabama. Then everything cooled down. Now it’s getting warmer (with slight cool-offs here and there…ever hear of the mini-ice age?).

    The article that Kevin pasted mentioned solar activity. Here’s some evidence to refute the “60 years” of data:

    Sunspot activity has been measured using the Wolfer number for about 300 years. This index (also known as the Zürich number) uses both the number of sunspots and the number of groups to compensate for variations in measurement.

    Sunspot numbers over the past 11,400 years have been reconstructed using dendrochronologically dated radiocarbon concentrations. The level of solar activity during the past 70 years is exceptional – the last period of similar magnitude occurred over 8,000 years ago. The Sun was at a similarly high level of magnetic activity for only ~10% of the past 11,400 years, and almost all of the earlier high-activity periods were shorter than the present episode.

    The amount of sunspots correlate with the intensity of solar radiation, and according to historical radiocarbon concentrations (as stated above), the last 70 years have been quite exceptional. 60 years of observations really won’t do you any good anyway.

  9. Captain Holly Says:

    The Eco-Fundamentalist crowd often get frustrated because it’s harder and harder to cause widespread panic anymore. They’re like a mob of Little Boys Crying Wolf; people no longer take their predictions of Imminent Doom as seriously as they did just a decade ago, partly because they’ve been so laughably wrong in the past.

    Yes, the percentage of atmospheric carbon dioxide has been steadily rising for the past 150 years. Yes, it’s probably due to human activity. Yes, the temperature during that time has risen a couple of degrees, and yes, it’s likely (though not proven) to be related to the rise in CO2.

    But guess what: THERE’S ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ANYONE OR ANY COUNTRY CAN DO TO STOP IT. Even if Kyoto were implemented fully, even if we all bought hybrids instead of SUVs, even if the US economy were to completely shut down tomorrow, THE AMOUNT OF CARBON DIOXIDE IN THE ATMOSPHERE WOULD CONTINUE TO INCREASE.

    Given our current technologies, the only realistic solution would be to replace all our fossil fuel-burning power plants with nuclear ones. But that’s not politically realistic, because the Eco-Loonies hate nuclear power more than they hate Big Oil or George Bush.

    Global Warming is not about saving Mother Gaia. It’s about power. It’s about control. It’s about a group of modern-day Luddites forcing their brand of misanthropic Puritainism on the Wicked and Slothful Americans. I don’t care how many scientists think it’s an important issue. I’m not going to give up my economic freedom, any more than I’m going to give up my guns.

  10. tgirsch Says:

    What Kevin said.

    [Uncle] “Waaaah! I used the same BS debate tactics that creationists and holocaust deniers use, and I got called on it, how unfair! Waaah!” [/Uncle]

    Of course, I’m sure living in Uncle-land is probably pleasant, given that one can always ignore conclusions pointed to by a preponderance of evidence by hiding behind the weasely “well, it isn’t conclusively proven yet” dodge. Especially if one finds those conclusions politically inconvenient, and even more so if one’s chosen political philosophy has no viable way to deal with such a problem *cough* libertarianism *cough*.

    You know, it’s not as if I like the idea of having to cut back on the automobile culture we’ve built. Shit, if we could all happily drive around in gas-guzzling muscle cars with the A/C on and the windows rolled down all day long for no good reason, with no political or environmental cost, I’d be all for it. But you see, I’m a big boy now, and I realize that there are more important things in the world than what I want. And I recognize that while it may not be “conclusively proven” to Uncle’s exacting standards, virtually all of the evidence points to human activities having a profound impact, and that because of this, it hurts nothing for us to err on the side of caution here.

    But no, the scientific consensus of every industrialized nation in the world is wrong, and the CATO institute and Exxon-funded think tanks are right, you see. It’s all a big conspiracy, as Manish point out.

    Uncle’s gripe about Kevin’s assertion that there’s “no debate” about global warming is just as valid as his past gripes about our assertions that there were “no WMDs” in Iraq, and “no ties” between Hussein’s regime and al-Qaeda. If you want to go all Clintony about it, you can find some trivial exceptions that nobody who’s anybody thinks are in any way significant, but to everybody else, the matter is pretty much settled. It’s just a question of whether or not you’re honest enough and mature enough to admit it.

  11. tgirsch Says:

    Cap’t Holly:
    THE AMOUNT OF CARBON DIOXIDE IN THE ATMOSPHERE WOULD CONTINUE TO INCREASE

    At exactly the same rate?

    Your logic is laughable. By that same logic, we’ll never be able to completely eliminate murder, so why bother trying to lower the murder rate? Hell, we can’t do everything, so let’s do nothing, right?

    As to nuclear power, as soon as you find a safe way to deal with the waste, sign me up. In fact, I saw someone who had a great idea: Require the next nuclear power plant and its waste storage site to be built inside the city limits of Washington, DC., in cab zone 1 or 2.

    You’re right that one side of the Global Warming debate is about power and control. You’re simply wrong about which side is mostly concerned with those things — it’s the side that already has the power and control.

  12. tgirsch Says:

    Blake:

    Hell, if you’re going to go with Wikipedia as a source, then stick this in your pipe and smoke it:

    The [global warming] controversy occurs almost entirely within the press and political arenas. In the scientific press and among climate researchers, there is little controversy about global warming.

    Oops, sorry, that doesn’t play nice with the “yes, there is too a debate” meme. And pay no attention whatsoever that critics of global warming resort to lying:

    Critics of GWT and/or the IPCC point out that the greater part of the rise in temperature had already occurred before the majority of the carbon dioxide had been released into the atmosphere; however, the instrumental temperature record shows that this isn’t true.

    Oops.

  13. kevin Says:

    Blake & Les

    First, I don’t thik the wiki article is talking about soalr activity in the sense that the real climate artivcle is – -otherwise it wouldn’t just focus on sunspots, only one aspect of solar activity.

    Second, and more important, it appears that the solar activity theory is, as real climate says, pretty much debubnked:
    http://www.newscientist.com/channel/earth/climate-change/mg18825194.600-climate-doesnt-swing-to-the-rhythm-of-the-sun.html

    Whihc is not to say it has no effect, only that it is not near as important as human activity. That’s the point — the largest driver is human activity, not that there are no natural processes at work here.
    Masked Menace

    Yeah, that happens, but it is astounding how often the scientific consnsous is right. We are, after all, still building building with the same engineering that the Greeks, Roman and Arabs used. And at that point, the consensous changes. I find it telling that after twenty years of hwell funded, concentrated efforts by industry to cast doubt on the human role in global climate change the consnsous is still so solid. That says a lot.

    Cpt. Holly

    “Libertarianism is the desperate search for intellectual justification for being selfish” — don’t rememeber who said that, but they seem to have you in mind. As tgirch pointed out, if you accept that global warming’s primae mover is human activity, then you have to accept that changing human behavior can have an effect on it. Your two statements don’t mesh at all.

    As for Kyoto, as Les points out, it would help for a few decades. The reasonable debate is wether or not that is worth the cost of the treaty, but Kyoto would have a noticeable effect.

  14. tgirsch Says:

    And with this:

    The reasonable debate is wether or not that is worth the cost of the treaty

    …Kevin makes a good point. If there were any intellectual honesty in the opponents of the politics of global warming (e.g., Kyoto, et. al.), this is primarily the type of debate they would engage in. Instead, they resort to heavily-funded think tanks that try to cast doubt on the science of global warming, not within the scientific community, mind you, but in the minds of politicos and the general public. It’s the same game that the ID/creationist crowd plays — we can’t override the science, so we’ll bypass the scientists entirely, pay a few hacks, and manufacture a nonexistent “controversy.” In other words, we can’t dazzle them with intellect, so we baffle them with bullshit.

  15. rich Says:

    (Also posted at Kevin’s original post)

    Yes, the earth is getting warmer. So is Mars. And the moon. The obvious inference is that solar radiant energy is increasing, unless you happen to think that greenhouse gas emissions on earth are affecting the global temperature of Mars, or want to assume three totally different warming mechanisms for three totally different ecosystems, one of which is basically inert. Have fun with that.

    By the way, the statement that there has been no increase in solar output over the last 60 years is It’s so obviously wrong, I’m tempted to call it deliberate misinformation, which calls into question the other claims made by the article. In any event, by current models, solar output now appears to account for about 30% of observed global warming.

    This also dispels the implication of the second paragraph of the article quoted, that since warming due to human CO2 emissions exceeds the actual observed warming, then all warming must be due to human activities. That implication is reinforced by the second line of the third paragraph, stating that there are no natural explanations for the warming trend. Since I’ve already shown that there are natural explanations, that renders the entire second paragraph suspect as well. Let’s break it down a bit.

    Again, the assumption is that if warming predicted by human activity is greater than observed, then human activity must account for all warming, but that the effects are moderated by other processes. This is bunk. Assume for a moment that the moderating capacity is actually significantly larger than the human effect. For example, the model used predicted that CO2 emissions would raise surface temp about 1 degree. What if the moderating system (they suggested airborn aerosols, like incresing cloud cover, etc.) has a capacity of 1.5 degrees? That would suggest that the .6 degree increase actually represents a 2.1 degree effect, indicating that 1.1 degrees of observed warming came from something other than human activity.

    That’s a vastly different picture than the one the authors try to present.

    Let’s talk about that observed warming a moment. Measurement of the surface temperature of the earth is affected by many factors, one of which is the increased urbanization of the measuring points, resulting in the heat island effect. This effect has not been adequately dealt with in most climatological models, and given the temperatures we’re dealing with, may account for a large portion of the observed temperature increases.

    The second important measurement of global temperature is tropospheric temperature. Because the troposphere is where the reflection occurs, its temperature should be increasing simultaneously and proportionate to surface temps. It isn’t. This thermodynamic anomoly all by itself tends to discredit the greenhouse global warming model, since an increase in temperature differential indicates greater heat transfer, not less, which by the way, is consonant with a solar model of global warming. This question has not been adequately addressed by man made global warming theorists.

    There is also much to question in the consequential modeling. According to some, an increase of a few degrees centigrade will have devastating effects on our planet. Historical data does not bear out this claim, as we are currently a few degrees below the Medieval Climate Optimum, the last warm period of the global cycle. During that time, Greenland was green, certainly a significant gloabl change. Yet we have no records of increased storm activity, and certainly no killer super-storms. While some climatologists have recently tried to cast the MCO and the Little Ice Age as localazed phenomena, the evidence strongly favors a global interpretation instead.

    Now, before you bring it up, let’s talk about the infamous hockey stick graph, which purports to show that global temperatures have been on a steadily decreasing trend for hundreds of years, right up until the industrial age. This is the big tamale for the man-made global warming folks. Unfortunately for them, it’s a fraud. The graph merges two data sets with wildly different methodologies and levels of accuracy. The smooth, long term decrease in global climate is taken from interpretations of tree rings. Given the variability of growth of trees based on many factors other than sunlight, this is problematic at best. Looking at other indicating factors (fauna, radioisotopic distributions, water levels, etc) is a much more accurate way of determining temperatures. These indicators give a very different picture of temperature patterns over 1000 years, one that includes wide swings in the global climate. The fact that these swings correlate well with solar output tends to confirm that model over the smooth decrease of the Mann model. But here’s the worst part. The dramatic break in the hockey stick graph ‘coincidentally’ also happens to be the point at which Mann grafted on his new data set, based on surface temperature measurements. Two wildly different methodologies blended together to achive a pre-ordained result. The graph is no more relavent than Piltdown man, another example of a fraud widely accepted by the scientific community, was to archaeology.

    The problem with the sources cited is that they are all based on computer models of the atmosphere that essentially boil down to guesses. Here’s the clue that all is not well with the models. The measured change in global climate has been roughly .6 degree C over the last 100 years. The models used to predict the future warming give predictions ranging anywhere from 1.5 C to 6 C over the next 100 years. The range of the predictions is an order of magnitude higher than the observed change! This is a phenomenally wide range. As a comparison, if you got a weather report for tomorrow with the same accuracy, it would be along the lines of, “The temperature tomorrow is forecast to be 75 degrees plus or minus 375 degrees.” The margin of error is so wide as to render the information useless.

    Taking all of these facts and factors into account, the poor data, flawed computer models, omitted causal factors, questionable predictions, and simple human nature, it is clear that there is much that is scientifically debatable about global warming, including causes, magnitudes, consequences, and ameliorative actions required.

  16. Ameliorations » Science, Politics, and Idiocy Says:

    […] SayUncle really tears into some dude named Kevin on the issue of global warming. Interesting, although nothing pithy to say from myself as I don’t care anymore. The Earth’s temperature is on a normal rise, yes humans have contributed to some degree. Its that degree of contribution that is at (or at least should be at) debate. […]

  17. Les Jones Says:

    Rich already addressed the Mars data. Here’s something else: the hockey stick graph of global warming was garbage-in, garbage-out hooey.

  18. kevin Says:

    les and Rich

    I dealt with your objections at my place. It is long, but, well, no, you are wrong. I wont post it here, since this is Uncle’s place and dumping a billion word commet without permission isn’t kosher. I have done enough the last two days to irritate our good host 😉

  19. countertop Says:

    True story, true conversation.

    Me: I’ve got to respectfully disagree with your logic sir. When I was a child the debate was over global cooling and our school science classes were filled with materials on how all the industrial pollution was reflecting the sun’s raise and lowering the temerature, sending us straight into the next ice age.

    Al Gore: They were wrong. No one understood the science back then.

    Me: Oh, and they do now? Why should I believe them now when everything they told me as a kid in school said the opposite?

    Al Gore: Because they didn’t understand the science then and we have a consensus on what the science is now.

    He then walked off to do his very impressive, gorgeous, powerpoint presentation.

  20. Xrlq Says:

    Ever notice how both sides of the global warming debate always assume global warming is a bad thing? Maybe it is, but maybe it isn’t. I’d trade a few obscure islands for a longer growing season. Wouldn’t you?

  21. SayUncle Says:

    This is the whiniest post I have seen you write

    I wasn’t going for whiny but was going for the hysterical, global warming gestapo by using their strategery against them. See, did it again.

    Of course, I’m sure living in Uncle-land is probably pleasant, given that one can always ignore conclusions pointed to by a preponderance of evidence by hiding behind the weasely “well, it isn’t conclusively proven yet” dodge.

    Didn’t realize that, you know, reliance on facts was a dodge.

    Especially if one finds those conclusions politically inconvenient, and even more so if one’s chosen political philosophy has no viable way to deal with such a problem *cough* libertarianism *cough*.

    I am politically neutral on global warming. One side should do more and one side should stop relying on hysterical predictions to make their point.

    And there sure is a lot of debate here for something that’s not debatable

  22. Phelps Says:

    Science isn’t consensus. Consensus isn’t science. If you want to debate the science, fine, but I don’t give a rats ass how many people line up on either side. I know that in my (short) lifetime, I have seen the coming ice age turn into the coming heat wave turn into the coming ice age (and passing peak oil several times in the process), I’ve seen the studies that show conclusively that the hockey-stick is a fraud — not just wrong, but an intentional fraud, and I have seen the studies that show conclusively that the sun is adding more heat to the planet than it has in several thousand years. (And yes, sunspots have a direct correllation with solar radiation.) Any sort of claim that says that we need to spend billions of dollars on the exact sorts of things that a scientist happens to be working on (which is what the majority of the environmental crisises turn out to be) are immediately suspect — just like every other scientific claim.

  23. Kevin Baker Says:

    tgirsch: “At exactly the same rate?”

    Why, no! India and China will be producing CO2 at ever-increasing rates as their economies expand!

    So you’re suggesting we should all ride bicycles to compensate?

    Not gonna happen.

    So, it’s going to get warmer. Weather patterns will change. Sea levels will probably rise.

    Best make preparations and get used to it, because Man isn’t going to stop burning fossil fuels. And it’s not like climate change hasn’t happened before.

    What we’re all tired of is the “WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!” hysteria promulgated by the people who are certain that they and only they know how everyone else must live so that disaster can be averted.

    Fuck it. We’re human beings. We adapt to our enviroments, and adapt our environments to us. Canada’s too damned cold, anyway.

  24. tgirsch Says:

    Xrlq:
    I’d trade a few obscure islands for a longer growing season. Wouldn’t you?

    Well, I suppose if you consider Manhattan to be an “obscure island,” maybe. Also, you ignore the fact that the “longer growing season” would likely be accompanied by a shortage of fresh water (given that the glaciers that make up one of the single biggest sources of fresh water would have melted away).

    Uncle:
    Didn’t realize that, you know, reliance on facts was a dodge.

    Except that you’re not “relying” on facts, you’re ignoring them. Or, more accurately, you’re disregarding the preponderance of facts that you don’t like, and paying attention to the very few facts that you do like. Never mind the elephant in the room, what’s that dust ball in the corner?

    One side should do more and one side should stop relying on hysterical predictions to make their point.

    This is the closest you’ve come to saying anything I agree with. Some environmentalists have been guilty of exaggerating their claims, to their detriment. That doesn’t mean, however, that you ought to throw the baby out with the bath water.

    It’s also the first admission I’ve heard from you that “one side ought to do more.” One wonders what type of “more” you might support.

    And there sure is a lot of debate here for something that’s not debatable

    Except that the debate is almost entirely political, and comes almost entirely from outside the scientific community. That scientists have in the past been wrong about certain things does not mean that we ought to ignore the scientists completely in favor of blowhard politicos. That applies to any issue, by the way.

    I suppose you’d be happier if Kevin revised his headline to comply with your legalistic preferences:

    “No Significant Debate Within The Scientific Community On Cause of Global Warming”

    The meaning is roughly the same, it’s a lot wordier, but maybe it would keep the habitual nitpickers happy. Not likely, given that most of the nitpickers are picking the nits because they don’t have any substantive criticism…

  25. SayUncle Says:

    Or, more accurately, you’re disregarding the preponderance of facts that you don’t like, and paying attention to the very few facts that you do like.

    Sorry, but you’re on crack. I’ve looked at all the facts i’ve been presented and stand by the fact that the significance of human intervention on the earth’s temperature is not scientifically proven.

  26. kevin Says:

    “And there sure is a lot of debate here for something that’s not debatable ”

    no, ther eis a lot pf pretneding that the science isn’t actually the science. “lalalalalalala I cannot hear you” doesn’t qualify as debate 🙂

  27. SayUncle Says:

    lalalalalalala I cannot hear you” doesn’t qualify as debate

    Yeah, and I wish you’d stop.

  28. kevin Says:

    “Yeah, and I wish you’d stop.”

    Yeah, I probably was a bit over the top wioth that one. But, dude, there isn’t a thing here that hasn’t been debunked in these comments or the ones at my place. Not a thing, and yet people still insisit on saying that the scientists are, essentially doing science wrong. this si incredibly frustrating. Hell, ten years ago I was a skeptic. But I kept paying attention and became convinced by the science. If you go to my place, you see rich’s stuff has all been debunked by newer research, sometimes not even all that new. It would have not been that hard to find that out before posting it, but he didn’t.

    And that looks to be the problem: clinging to the notion of debate when there just ins’t a credible debate in the scientific community. to do that, you have not pay attention to the state of the actual science. Debate the solutions all you want, but don;t try to pretend that out of date arguments and verbal slight of hand consttute a real, honest debate about the issue.

    Let me put it this way: if there was this level of consensous among researchers that hand guns unequivicolly lead to a reduction in all crimes, I doubt you would be so anxious to claim that the Brady Center’s protestations to the contrary meant there was a “debate” on the issue. But that is exactly what you are engaged in here.

  29. Captain Holly Says:

    Tgirsh said:

    “At exactly the same rate?

    Your logic is laughable. By that same logic, we’ll never be able to completely eliminate murder, so why bother trying to lower the murder rate? Hell, we can’t do everything, so let’s do nothing, right?”

    Completely different subjects.

    The whole point of reducing carbon emissions is that we are putting carbon into the atmosphere that Nature didn’t intend to be there, and thus we need to eliminate those emissions to allow the climate to reutrn to its “natural” (pre-industrial age) state. Simply cutting carbon dioxide emissions by a small percentage won’t do anything significant — we’ll get warmer anyway. Kyoto, even if fully implemented and scrupulously followed (which for all practical purposes is impossible) would only reduce the expected warming by less than 1 degree C.

    Your logic is that we must DO SOMETHING! right away, even if it’s hugely expensive, mostly ineffective, and quite likely counter-productive. It’s somewhat like terrified villagers throwing virgins into a volcano: It will make them feel better, but it won’t change a thing.

  30. tgirsch Says:

    Uncle:
    I’ve looked at all the facts i’ve been presented and stand by the fact that the significance of human intervention on the earth’s temperature is not scientifically proven.

    You know, given a choice between trusting Uncle, and trusting the scientific community, I know which choice I’d make. I’m glad that the evidence provided to you by the CATO institute, the Cooler Heads Coalition, the Heartland Institute, and the Heritage foundation was enough to convince you that those partisan hacks over at the NCDC and NOAA, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Pew Center are all full of it.

    Suffice it to say, the evidence for human impact on global warming is infinitely better than the evidence that, say, more guns doesn’t lead to more violence. Something tells me you wouldn’t dream of holding the latter claim to anything like the same standard as what you’re using on the former. But I’m sure personal political preference has nothing to do with that.

    Bottom line: Cherry-picking is cherry-picking, whether or not you realize (or admit) you’re doing it. I have the scientific consensus overwhelmingly on my side. That this isn’t good enough for you tells us all we need to know about your open-mindedness on this issue.

  31. Captain Holly Says:

    Kevin said:

    “As tgirch pointed out, if you accept that global warming’s primae mover is human activity, then you have to accept that changing human behavior can have an effect on it. Your two statements don’t mesh at all.”

    Of course I accept the idea that human behavior might be responsible for global warming. The point I made and continue to make is that WE CAN’T DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT.

    But then I would admit that’s even a false statement. We CAN do something, but since that something would be to return our economy to the pre-industrial age, that’s not a practical solution.

    Remember, the climate is supposedly out-of-kilter because of all that dinosaur carbon that humans have been pumping into the environment for the past 150 years. If that is true, then to save Mamma Gaia we must REDUCE the concentration of CO2 already in the air, not just reduce our yearly emissions, since virtually all those emissions will come from dinosaur carbon that we dig or pump out of the earth.

    In fact, since some scientists are already saying that 400 ppm CO2 is the “no return” point, and we’re already at 390 or so, I’d say we should stop flogging Kyoto and start trying to adapt.

    “As for Kyoto, as Les points out, it would help for a few decades. The reasonable debate is wether or not that is worth the cost of the treaty, but Kyoto would have a noticeable effect.”

    Kyoto is an insurance policy. Like any insurance, there is a point where the coverage simply is not worth the costs. It’s like me paying an extra $2500 per year to insure my house against an asteroid strike. If one happens, I’ll be covered. But since it’s probably not going to ever happen (although it is indeed possible), it’s a big waste of my resources.

  32. Manish Says:

    Science isn’t consensus. Consensus isn’t science.

    Global warming may prove to be the “using leaches to suck out blood” of the 21st Century and it may not. However, the entire premise that global warming, of all scientific consensus, is wrong seems to be the inconvenience experienced by industry, auto companies, oil companies, etc. which have funded these junk scientists to refute global warming.

  33. tgirsch Says:

    Cap’n Holly:
    Simply cutting carbon dioxide emissions by a small percentage won’t do anything significant — we’ll get warmer anyway.

    While technically true, it still doesn’t justify ignornig the questions of rate. You’re still basically arguing that because we can’t undo everything we’ve already done, it’s okay to keep on doing what we’ve been doing. This simply doesn’t follow!

    The best estimates today show that the earth will warm between 2 and 7 degrees fahrenheit by 2100. Assuming doing everything we can means 2, and doing nothing means 7, don’t you think we ought to at least do something to try to prevent the worst case? I fully understand that economic considerations have to be taken into account, and I’ve never argued against this. But to pretend that the problem simply doesn’t exist, or that we shouldn’t do anything at all is, frankly, incredibly stupid and short-sighted. In a 1947 “Let’s give the Jews a ‘safe haven’ surrounded on all sides by ethnicities that would like to wipe them from the face of the earth” sort of way.

    Your logic is that we must DO SOMETHING! right away, even if it’s hugely expensive, mostly ineffective, and quite likely counter-productive.

    No, my logic is that we need to get past arguing whether or not the problem exists (it clearly does, to any willing to examine it honestly), so that we can figure out what, if anything, can be viably done. I’m not nearly so pessimistic as you, in that I don’t try to construct a false dilemma between doing nothing and worldwide economic collapse, as you seem to be trying to do.

  34. tgirsch Says:

    Remember, the climate is supposedly out-of-kilter because of all that dinosaur carbon that humans have been pumping into the environment for the past 150 years. If that is true, then to save Mamma Gaia we must REDUCE the concentration of CO2 already in the air, not just reduce our yearly emissions, since virtually all those emissions will come from dinosaur carbon that we dig or pump out of the earth.

    The non-sequitur, the straw man, and the false dilemma: A veritable trifecta of fallacy. You have my respect and admiration; I don’t think I could have piled all three of those into two sentences if I tried. 🙂

  35. SayUncle Says:

    ‘I don’t think I could have piled all three of those into two sentences if I tried’

    THis from the guy who has repeatedly misquoted my position? 😉

  36. Captain Holly Says:

    Tgirsch said:

    “While technically true, it still doesn’t justify ignornig the questions of rate. You’re still basically arguing that because we can’t undo everything we’ve already done, it’s okay to keep on doing what we’ve been doing. This simply doesn’t follow!”

    You have very little idea of the scale of the problem. I don’t remember the exact numbers but the global carbon emission budget is in the trillions of tons. Simply reducing carbon emissions by a few billion tons is a drop in the bucket; you won’t even notice it. It’s roughly equivalent to deciding that we’ve pumped out too much water out of the ground and raised the sea levels, so we need to lower the sea levels by having everyone go to the ocean a fill a 5-gallon bucket. IT WILL DO NOTHING.

    I realize logarithms are difficult to understand, but Kyoto won’t even reduce the world’s anthropogenic yearly carbon emissions by a single percentage point. And it won’t do anything to the natural carbon emissions.

    “I’m not nearly so pessimistic as you, in that I don’t try to construct a false dilemma between doing nothing and worldwide economic collapse, as you seem to be trying to do.”

    I’m realistic, because I realize that Kyoto will both do nothing significant AND cause economic havoc. Which is why all those self-righteous Eurotrash signatory nations such as France and Germany and Great Britain have started back-pedaling on their Kyoto commitments — they’ve woke up to the fact that they are going to spend billions of Euros for NOTHING.

  37. Captain Holly Says:

    Tgirsch said:

    “The non-sequitur, the straw man, and the false dilemma: A veritable trifecta of fallacy. You have my respect and admiration; I don’t think I could have piled all three of those into two sentences if I tried.”

    Boy, you’re dense. Let’s try it again, more slowly this time.

    The pre-industrial age CO2 level was roughly 275 ppm. Today it is around 390 ppm. Even in the best scenario under Kyoto, it will be pushing 500 ppm by the year 2100.

    Now read that carefully, and tell me, HOW does Kyoto help stabilize the climate?

  38. Manish Says:

    CH…you appear to be arguing that Kyoto doesn’t go far enough. The Europeans are backtracking because without the US involved, whats the point. They take a hit to their economy with little benefit because the US isn’t in. Same goes for exempting developing countries from limits.

  39. tgirsch Says:

    Captain Holly:

    You continually ignore the fact that the status quo means continuing to accelerate our rate of CO2 emissions, and I’m the one who’s dense? That’s rich. Otherwise, Manish is right. You seem to be arguing that Kyoto doesn’t go far enough. And I might be inclined to agree with you on that. Of course, nobody ever claimed that Kyoto would fix everything (which seems to be your straw man). It’s simply a start.

    SayUncle:

    And what, exactly, is your position again? Apart from “It’s not proved yet?” That the same evidence that manages to convince the vast majority of qualified scientists who have actually studied the matter isn’t enough to convince a stay-at-home accountant with only a passive interest proves exactly what?

    Oh, never mind. If overwhelming scientific consensus isn’t enough to convince you that there’s a good chance there might be something to this, I can’t imagine what would.

    (And you still haven’t explained where the significant difference is between your statement that “[human impact on global warming] is a scientific theory” and the oft-repeated BS claim that “[evolution] is just a theory” — which is what caused me to compare you to a creationist in the first place.)

  40. Captain Holly Says:

    To clarify my position on Kyoto (which I thought I had already made abundantly clear):

    Kyoto is a pipe dream, a symbolic gesture, a very expensive and badly-flawed treaty that even if fully implemented would have no significant impact on the earth’s climate.

    Do we need something even stronger? I honestly don’t know. However, considering the hyperbole that has been thrown around by the environmentalists, the huge costs of implementing even modest carbon controls, and the sheer scope of the “problem”, I think the wait-and-see approach is the most pragmatic thing to do.

  41. Xrlq Says:

    Also, you ignore the fact that the “longer growing season” would likely be accompanied by a shortage of fresh water (given that the glaciers that make up one of the single biggest sources of fresh water would have melted away).

    And once the glaciers melt away, the water ends up … where, exactly?

  42. countertop Says:

    the vast majority of qualified scientists

    Where the hell does that come from??

  43. tgirsch Says:

    Xrlq:
    And once the glaciers melt away, the water ends up … where, exactly?

    You’re kidding, right? It ends up in the oceans, where it mixes with salt water, and thus becomes non-potable and useless for crop irrigation. Meanwhile, the rivers that were fed by formerly-gradual the glacier melt dry up, and unless the Beneficial Global Warming Fairy makes it a point to compensate for that lost source with additional rain, you’re essentially screwed.

  44. SayUncle Says:

    Tom, if all of it would end up in the oceans, why is it a source of fresh water now?

  45. Xrlq Says:

    Uncle, you’re kidding, right? Didn’t you know that only naturally evaporating water gets converted into rain? Water that evaporates due to increases in the earth’s temperature goes into outer space, and stuff.

  46. countertop Says:

    , the rivers that were fed by formerly-gradual the glacier melt dry up

    I think something got messed up here – a word missing perhaps. Anyway, it sounds almost like your saying that Glaciers melt gradually already naturally? Is that true historically?

    What about all the glaciers that are still growing?

  47. SayUncle » But all the experts agree Says:

    […] Remember, close your eyes, put your fingers in your ears and repeat I can’t hear you because this stuff, you know, isn’t debatable you holocaust-denying, flat-earthers. […]

  48. Lean Left Says:

    […] Remember how Kevin posted that there’s no serious debate about the causes of global warming?  And remember how some people got really upset about being chided for continuing to insist that there is?  Well, those people are going to just hate stuff like this from Grist Magazine: I’ll answer your question’s last part quickly: no credible scientific body in the United States continues to debate whether or not human activity contributes to climate change. I don’t tend to read the articles telling us we have nothing to worry about, but I assume some people writing such articles have jobs at stake. What is uncertain about global warming is what the effects will be. Not “will they be bad” or “will they be severe” — rather, “how bad and severe will they be?” […]

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