Abusing Science

Number 44 of a series

Abuse of science comes in multiple ways, one being distortion of science education in public schools. Pennsylvania is in the process of overhauling the science standards for ts schools, and politicization of science is making its coming to the fore. From the Pennsylvania Capital-Star comes this:

The climate for change

Educators expect that climate change education will be a major sticking point in the overhaul of Pennsylvania’s science standards, which currently lack any mention of human-caused global warming.

The scientific community agrees that climate change will lead to catastrophic sea-level rise and ecological disruption if humans don’t drastically curb their carbon emissions. But since it’s not mentioned in Pennsylvania’s science standards, some students may never learn about it in school.

“Right now in the state, it is a total random act of teaching climate change,” Remington said. “There’s no consistency. There’s no formal training.”

Teachers know they’ll have a hard time passing climate change education standards through Pennsylvania’s Republican-controlled General Assembly, where committees still hear testimony from researchers who reject mainstream climate science.

The same goes for topics related to evolution, which was a point of contention during the last revamp of science standards in the late ‘90s and early 2000s, according to Kathy Blouch, a professor at Lebanon Valley College who was on the committee that promulgated the current science standards.

“I think that’s why the state didn’t want to open the science standards again, because it was so contentious,” Blouch said. “But it’s been so long, and our current standards haven’t held up.”

In an attempt to avoid a political fight, educators like Remington are making workforce development a cornerstone in their campaign to adopt new science standards for the state. At a time when workers from across the world are vying for jobs and autonomous technology threatens to upend entire industries, Pennsylvania isn’t preparing its students to compete, they say.

The National Center for Science Education is the premier organization combating the anti-science attacks on public education. They are a rallying point for the protection of science education, frequently involved in critical issues. When the Dover [Pennsylvania] Area School District attempted to introduce a book advocating for Intelligent Design into the science curriculum, several parents sued. Research assisted by the NCSE revealed the book, Of Pandas and People, is in reality a revamped young-Earth creationism screed. Their quarterly journal, Reports of the NCSE, is available to supporters. One of their online bulletins pointed me to the Pennsylvania story above. The NCSE is a non-political, non-profit entity, and they depend on your donations. I give annually, and you should, as well.

Abusing Science

Number 43 of a series

Here’s the way it works. The science is not breaking your way. Scientists doing research into the planet’s atmosphere are coming to ominous conclusions, and an apparent consequence is this. Unless corrective action is taken there are going to be bad consequences.

And that’s the problem. People will need to do something. In a democratic society that means the government will need to do something. Actually, in an authoritarian society it will still be required for the government to do something.

But having the government do something is what you do not want. There are two flavors of this:

  • You’re the kind of person who wants government to do as little as possible to satisfy your personal needs.
  • What the government will need to do has a detrimental impact on your personal fortunes.

You have two choices.

  • You can go along and take your lumps.
  • You can demonstrate the science is invalid, therefore it will not be necessary for the government to do anything.

I forgot. There is a third alternative.

  • You can invest heavily in persuading people the science is invalid, so nothing needs to be done, and you get back your investment multiple times over.

And that’s what’s being done. The Heritage Foundation is a politically conservative think tank mounting a vigorous challenge to the science behind global warming. I get one of their newsletters, titled The Daily Signal. Here is a recent offering:

The Daily Signal <morningbell@heritage.org>

To: Jf_blanton@yahoo.comOct 10 at 4:01 PM

Instead of anti-science doomsday predictions, this is what children should know about the environment.

It comes with a video. Watch the video. It opens with Greta Thunberg making her impassioned plea for adults to take action. From there it launches into an impassioned plea against taking action. The video is short, and I watched it through, capturing screen shots of each scene carrying the Heritage message. Here is what you will see.

People taking action to mold public opinion are termed “activists,” and they are recruiting naive children to man the front lines. This is obviously done to elicit undue sympathy for their mistaken cause.

Greta is like so many other young people, innocent of the real world. She does not have her facts straight. Interestingly the video dwells very little on the facts related to global warming.

It is true. Many global warming activists make claims unsupported by the data, and that undermines the entire case for global warming.

No, it does not. What would undermine the case for global warming would be facts that demonstrate one or more of the following:

  • Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere does not cause warming by absorbing infra red radiation.
  • The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is not increasing, or else is not increasing dangerously.
  • The oceans and the atmosphere are not warming, or at least they are not warming sufficiently to produce harmful results.
  • Human activity is not increasing the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere, or at least it is not a significant cause of the increase.

Disproving any one of these five points would refute the science behind global warming concerns. None of these has ever been successfully disputed, and by no means has the Heritage Foundation done so, nor has it made a serious effort to.

Heritage will like for us to examine some recent history, not any history of the science, but history of the controversy.

Gloriosky, Zero! They bring up predictions of global cooling. Flash news. There will be a new ice age. It’s coming, providing this planet repeats the cycle it has experience the past few million years. But the onset is at least 1000 years in the future, and the consequences of anthropogenic global warming will impact us well before then.

“That didn’t happen.” No shit, Sherlock. The next ice age is not due anytime soon. “Mass flooding?” The video depicts a raging river. The mass flooding, expected to be a consequence of global warming, will be due to a rise of several feet by the planet’s oceans. This rise will be principally due to the melting of land ice, and a consequential rise is already being charted. Increased melting of glacier ice and the Greenland and Antarctic ice is being observed.

Heritage is likely correct on this point. What is more probably true is the time has past for us to forestall onerous consequences of global warming. In the past decades the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has nearly doubled, and the rise in atmospheric temperature is being charted. There is no action we can take to prevent dire consequences coming 50 to 100 years from now.

Heritage is going to warn us the proposed solutions will not be to our liking.

Yes! Free enterprise is going in the toilet. In this case, the term “free enterprise” is not defined, but for sure it’s not going to be so easy in the future to make money selling fossil fuels. Burning fossil fuels as a means for producing electric power will feel an enormous pinch.

Yes, that dreadful ogre, the government, is going to take over your life. Here is a point where Heritage goes completely off the deep end. These guys are going to need to explain what they mean by “Washington would control everything from energy to food production.”

“And the type of cars we can drive.” To be sure, that is already happening. To decrease reliance on fossil fuels the government has mandated better fuel efficiency for automobiles. First hand knowledge. I spent a few weeks this summer touring Europe, and gasoline prices there are out of sight. A quick check shows the lowest price for unleaded in Germany is 1.189 euros per liter, which I work out to be $4.24 a gallon. As a consequence I notice most everybody who drives, drives a small and fuel efficient car, for those who drive. Trains and other forms of public transportation are a big part of life in Europe.

“But even if we believed their catastrophic predictions… Would their proposals work?” I don’t think so either. We are decades too late to forestall some serious damage, but that has nothing to do with whether AGW is real. The science is the science, and the consequences be damned.

“Not according to climate scientists own models.” Likely true. Again, no attempt to refute the science.

“They predict that even if the United States cut its carbon dioxide emissions to zero it would stall global warming by less than a degree Celsius… Over 80 years.” True again. The United States alone cannot fix the problem. Besides, if carbon dioxide emissions due to human activity were to cease completely by the end of this day, the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will take in the order of 200 years to return to pre-industrial levels. The carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will continue to keep temperatures high enough during that time to have catastrophic results.

“So does that men we’re doomed? Not according to experts.” Heritage is going to need more than a slick video to get this message out. Unfortunately, in their posting no explanation is provided.

“Their [the experts] research shows economic freedom strongly correlates with clean environments.” Again, no explanation given, but two points.

  • It is not clean environments we are talking back. Other than its warming effects, the rise in carbon dioxide levels we have seen so far are not a serious pollutant.
  • My own observation is that when industries operate without environmental controls they bolster their profits by caring less about releasing harmful byproducts of their industrial processes.

“And the best way to create sustainable environment policies is to increase economic growth.” I would dearly like to see Heritage’s number on this.

Heritage announces we are “leading the world in reducing CO2 emissions.” Again no numbers given.

“So while climate activists spread doomsday predictions the only meltdown on our hands appears to be an emotional one.”

That last statement from the video is soaked in irony. All through Heritage has made mostly emotional appeals. Washington will run everything. You will not be able to drive the car of your choice. Dismantle our free enterprise system.

Guys, give it a rest. Come back when you are ready to argue real science.

Bat Shit Crazy

Number 14 in a Series

There is crazy, and there is bat shit crazy. Take, for example, former candidate for president Michele Bachmann of Minnesota.

Michele Marie Bachmann ( née Amble; born April 6, 1956) is an American politician and a member of the Republican Party. She represented Minnesota’s 6th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives from 2007 to 2015. The district includes St. Cloud and several of the northern suburbs of the Twin Cities.

Get past, for a moment, her being a member of the Tea Party movement and a founder of the House Tea Party Caucus, Bachmann brings bat shit crazy to a new level.

Bachmann: Climate Change Is A Hoax Because God Promised No More Floods

Former Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann appeared on Jan Markell’s “Understanding The Times” radio program last weekend, where she urged pastors to start preaching the “truth” from their pulpits that climate change represents no threat to humanity because God said in the Bible, after Noah’s flood, that he would never again destroy the world with water.

Bachmann said that in her capacity as “pastor to the United Nations,” she has met with dozens of ambassadors “and every single one of them talk[s] about climate change.”

“I would encourage pastors to start preaching on this issue of climate change and God’s view of climate change,” Bachmann said. “The very covenant was established by God and Noah. And that covenant was that sin was so gross in the world that God had to bring about judgment, and then he had to bring about salvation, and from there came Abraham. God put a rainbow in the sky as a sign of his covenant and he said very clearly to the entire world, ‘Never again will there be judgment, never again will the world be flooded.’”

“You can take it to the bank, that’s God’s word,” she added. “And what is it these frauds tells us with climate change? That the world’s going to be flooded. Isn’t it interesting they’re saying it’s going to be another catastrophe, it’s flooding, we’re going to be flooded? God says we will never be flooded.”

Just so we have it straight:

  • There is a magical person in the sky.
  • This person flooded out the entire world, killing all but eight people a few thousand years ago.
  • This person said it wouldn’t happen again.
  • The science behind global warming is a hoax.

Yes, that about wraps it up. This is what we call “bat shit crazy chrome plated.”

Abusing Science

Number 40 of a series

The way science works is there are conclusions and there is dissent. Workers in a field of study come up with explanations for observed fact, and those who disagree with the explanations (theories) publish their own studies to contradict the theory.

There is another way to push back against an unfavorable theory, and that is to not discuss the science but to focus on the consequences of the proposed theory or to focus on the people who support the theory, or both. In either case, the counter argument does not involve any science. That is what Greg Gutfeld does on Fox News Channel’s The Greg Gutfeld Show.

Climate freaks shut down traffic in Washington, D.C., on Monday.

As this idiocy rolls on, we should note that people trying to go to work and put food on their tables don’t hurt the environment. Creating endless blocks of idling cars and trucks does. Which is what that tantrum did.

I’m guessing this Internet page will remain up for several years, allowing readers to read it in its entirety, but I will paste here some pertinent excerpts. I read the piece through, and it makes no mention of the science.

Gutfeld opens by naming the protesters “climate freaks,” making it clear up front there will be no argument of fact. He relates, “As this idiocy rolls on…,” not making it clear whether the idiocy is the science or the actions of the protesters. Let’s assume Gutfeld is referring to the actions of the protesters and not to the science. Else he would not have much of an argument. His talking points hit all the sensitive zones:

The media elevates these idiots.

Because rather than interfering with their lives, activism gives the media an easy assignment.

Just walk outside and shove a microphone at a pathetic attention-seeker. It beats real work.

Worse, we have adults advocating for handing life-changing over decisions to children.

An obvious target is the collection of news outlets, collectively termed “the media.” The media bear responsibility for the actions of the activists, because these people would not be protesting if not to get their message out, and the news outlets cover these protests rather than serious news. That’s because the news people are lazy. Gutfeld is hitting major sore points of his conservative audience. And we are allowing children to decide whether to take action against climate change.

The charge of handing decision making over to children requires some response. The children—teenagers, to be sure—are saying what adults should be saying, but it will be the adults making the decisions, possibly the adults who were once these children.

Gutfeld invokes hyperbole:

Here’s a question. What would happen if parents in a cult maniacally and falsely informed their children that the world will end in a decade?

This is a rhetorical device that has experienced considerable shelf life.

Never mind that kids know nothing about nuclear energy or the costs of solar or wind power.

Surprise, surprise! It is likely these children know more about nuclear energy than does Greg Gutfeld. Regarding the cost of solar and wind power, he wants us to know it will cost more to run home and industry off renewable sources than fossil fuel. To which I exclaim, “No shit, Sherlock!” Dude, if at the offset renewable sources involved less cost than fossil fuel, then there would be no climate crisis. We never would have mined the coal and pumped the petroleum. We would have been using renewable energy from the get-go. The reason we have a climate crisis is fossil fuels were the first available sources of energy in great quantity, making them essential in getting the Industrial Revolution off the ground. However, at this stage in the game the pet we invited into our house has started to eat us, and we need to cast about for alternatives, even at greater cost. And it is not necessary for the children to know that in order for it to be true.

Gutfeld concludes:

The media won’t see it that way.

They’re too busy showing how much they care before packing their gear back into their gas-guzzling, idling vans and heading to the airport for the next climate summit.

Adapted from Greg Gutfeld’s monologue on “The Five” on Sept. 23, 2019.

And that is how you argue against science when science is not your friend.

Abusing Science

Number 39 of a series

The National Center for Science Education is the premier organization in this country working to counter science disinformation in public education. They publish a quarterly journal Reports of the National Center for Science Education. A prominent section in each issue is titled “Updates,” and it details legislative action and activities in public schools. Here are some excerpts of note:

CONNECTICUT
Connecticut’s House Bill 5955 would have
“eliminate[d] climate change materials” from the
Next Generation Science Standards as used in
Connecticut, describing climate change as “a
controversial area of information,” while House Bill
5922 would have rescinded Connecticut’s adoption of the NGSS altogether. Both bills were sponsored by John E. Piscopo (R–District 76), who has a
record of introducing legislation and working with
organizations, including the Heartland Institute, that
dispute anthropogenic climate change; both died in
committee in March 2019.

FLORIDA
Florida’s Senate Bill 330 would have
required “[c]ontroversial theories and concepts”
discussed in science standards “[to] be taught in
a factual, objective, and balanced manner.” Although
there was no indication in the bill about which “theories
and concepts” are deemed to be “controversial,” much
less any guidance about adjudicating disputes about
which are and which are not, the bill’s sole sponsor,
Dennis Baxley (R–District 12), has a history of antievolution
advocacy. SB 330 died in committee in May 2019.

IOWA
Iowa’s House File 61 would have required the state department of education not to “adopt, approve, or require implementation of the [N]ext [G]eneration [S]cience [S]tandards
by school districts and accredited nonpublic schools.” Iowa
adopted the NGSS in 2015. In a 2016 interview, the bill’s
sponsor, Skyler Wheeler (R–District 4), declared, “I also
oppose NGSS as it pushes climate change … NGSS also
pushes evolution even more.” The bill died in committee in
March 2019.

LOUISIANA, BOSSIER PARISH
A settlement was reached on January 22, 2019, in Does
v. Bossier Parish School Board, a case before the United
States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana.
The school system was accused of promoting religious
beliefs, including by tolerating teachers “reportedly …
praising creationism in class and attempting to discredit
the scientific theory of evolution.” Americans United for
Separation of Church and State, representing the anonymous plaintiffs, described the settlement as “a huge win.”

There are additional items reported in the article, and the phrase, “would have” appears frequently. Legislation detrimental to the teaching of valid science has been killed in committee or by vote in the full chamber. That is not always the case. From local news reporting:

Board retains Moses in Texas social studies curriculum

The State Board of Education on Wednesday tentatively approved keeping a reference to Moses in the state’s social studies curriculum despite recommendations from one of its working groups to remove the biblical prophet.

High school students will continue to learn in government class that Moses, along with William Blackstone, John Locke, and Charles de Montesquieu, were among those who influenced the U.S. founding documents. The Republican-led board voted along party lines to keep Moses in the curriculum, with board Chairwoman Donna Bahorich, R-Houston, abstaining although she has indicated her support of retaining Moses in the past.

Yes, William Blackstone, John Locke, and Charles de Montesquieu will be listed as those who inspired the writing of the United States Constitution. And so will Moses. There is a problem here. Blackstone, Locke, and de Montesquieu were real people. Moses was not. The most benevolent historical assessment of Moses is that he is a figure concocted by tribal leaders in the Eastern Mediterranean region about 3000 years ago. Introducing a mythical figure into the serious study of history appears on the first hand to be an act of high idiocy. A more reliable historical figure would be Popeye the Sailor, of whose origins we know much more.

In addition to being a product of somebody’s imagination, Moses would be a poor inspiration for a democratic society. Significant wording stands out:

20 And God spake all these words, saying,

I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:

10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:

Item 2 above is definitely problematic in that it runs counter to actual history. Moses did not bring anybody out of Egypt. Particularly Moses did not bring the Hebrews out of Egypt, since the Hebrews never were in Egypt to be brought out. Students being taught otherwise are being indoctrinated in some bad science.

Item 3 requires only the god of Abraham be appreciated. The Constitution in its original form contained, and still does, a clause prohibiting a religious oath as a requirement for holding public office. That was a starter. In 1791 the First Amendment was added, ensuring free expression of religion. That should have meant Moses needed to take his place in line with all other mythical figures of religious origin, and Moses should definitely not be given a place alongside Blackstone, Locke, and de Montesquieu—real people.

Number 4 definitely has problems with a free society. This, from Moses, would prohibit most forms of personal expression. Freedom of speech would be in a lot of trouble.

Number 5 indicates the United States government, also known as the citizens of the United States of America, should not be the supreme law. Were we to follow this musing of Moses, courts would need to check a copy of the King James version before handing down sentences.

Skipping over number 6, number 7 has serious issues. Freedom of speech is definitely at odds with number 7.

A lot of people are going to be in serious trouble if item 8 begins to be taken seriously by our government. In fact, it was taken seriously for a time. Sunday closing laws, then known as “blue laws,” had the intent of enforcing this command from Moses.

Items 9 and 10 are again an affront to a free society. If you want to see government oppression in its baldest form, witness a government that tells people when they can work and when they must not.

If history is to be taught as a rigorous study, then the Texas Legislature is an affront to serious science.

Abusing Science

Number 38 of a series

So here’s what happens. You disagree with published results of scientific studies, and you feel you need to refute the conclusions. So what you do is conduct your own research and publish your results, solidly refuting the false reporting.

No, that’s not what you do. What you do if you don’t agree with published science is you find something to mock, and if there is not much to mock you make up something. You produce a ludicrous cartoon depiction of your opponents argument, and you publish that in a scientific journal. Actually, not in a scientific journal, but on Facebook, where peer review is much more rigorous.

And that’s what’s been done. A Facebook friend has long put forward his opposition to peer-reviewed science dealing with anthropogenic global warming (AGW). See some of my prior comments. More recently Dan Kuttner posted a link with a cartoon depicting child advocate Greta Thunberg. See the above. Was flattery ever so thoroughly turned sideways!

Anyhow, here are some comments that attached to Dan’s posting:

Paul Snover

To think I LIVED through and SURVIVED ALL of these catastrophes listed…
But then I thought there would be a second American Revolution via The Declaration of Independence by now, so I had bad predictions too…
Funny though how gullible folks are!

Compiled by Dan Asmussen
* Best Recap In History:
1966: Oil Gone in Ten Years
1967: Dire Famine Forecast By 1975
1968: Overpopulation Will Spread Worldwide
1969: Everyone Will Disappear In a Cloud Of Blue Steam By 1989
1970: World Will Use Up All its Natural Resources by 2000
1970: Urban Citizens Will Require Gas Masks by 1985
1970: Nitrogen buildup Will Make All Land Unusable
1970: Decaying Pollution Will Kill all the Fish
1970s: Killer Bees!
1970: Ice Age By 2000
1970: America Subject to Water Rationing by 1974 and Food Rationing By 1980
1971: New Ice Age Coming By 2020 or 2030
1972: New Ice Age By 2070
1972: Oil Depleted in 20 Years
1974: Space Satellites Show New Ice Age Coming Fast
1974: Another Ice Age?
1974: Ozone Depletion a ‘Great Peril to Life
1976: Scientific Consensus Planet Cooling, Famines imminent
1977: Department of Energy Says Oil will Peak in 90s
1978: No End in Sight to 30-Year Cooling Trend
1980: Acid Rain Kills Life In Lakes
1980: Peak Oil In 2000
1988: Regional Droughts (that never happened) in 1990s
1988: Temperatures in DC Will Hit Record Highs
1988: Maldive Islands will Be Underwater by 2018 (they’re not)
1989: Rising Sea Levels will Obliterate Nations if Nothing Done by 2000
1989: New York City’s West Side Highway Underwater by 2019 (it’s not)
1996: Peak Oil in 2020
2000: Children Won’t Know what Snow Is
2002: Famine In 10 Years If We Don’t Give Up Eating Fish, Meat, and Dairy
2002: Peak Oil in 2010
2004: Britain will Be Siberia by 2024
2005: Manhattan Underwater by 2015
2006: Super Hurricanes!
2008: Arctic will Be Ice Free by 2018
2008: Climate Genius Al Gore Predicts Ice-Free Arctic by 2013
2009: Climate Genius Prince Charles Says we Have 96 Months to Save World
2009: UK Prime Minister Says 50 Days to ‘Save The Planet From Catastrophe’
2009: Climate Genius Al Gore Moves 2013 Prediction of Ice-Free Arctic to 2014
2013: Arctic Ice-Free by 2015
2014: Only 500 Days Before ‘Climate Chaos
2019: Hey Greta, we need you to convince them it’s really going to happen this time

Thanks –Dan Asmussen

…and great funny cartoon by Tina Toon—

The cartoon appears on the Grrrgraphics.com site, which seems to host a collection of graphics by Ben Garrison.

Ben Garrison is an American right-wing (also identified as alt-right) political cartoonist.[5] He is a self-described libertarian whose cartoons have been widely promoted among the alt-right. He has produced cartoons that showcase anti-feminist, anti-semitic and racist content. His cartoons often lionize conservative figures and right wing politicians such as President Donald Trump.

In a 2015 interview with Breitbart News, he said he did not support any presidential candidate in the 2016 election, but said he admires Trump for “shaking up the neocon-controlled Republican Party.”

If by now you are guessing that AGW denial is a conservative thing, then you are up to speed on the trend. For some reason political conservatives have issues with a number of conclusions from modern science. Those issues would include biological evolution (favoring creationism instead) and of course AGW.

I have no solid background on Dan Asmussen, but a Google search links the name to multiple alt-right sites. Anyhow, Dan lists a bunch of things that never happened. He concludes by taunting, “2019: Hey Greta, we need you to convince them it’s really going to happen this time.”

So that is the proper way to refute science you do not agree with. No, it is not the proper way. The proper way is to produce counter evidence. At this point I did not present any evidence, but I did submit a snide remark to get the pot boiling.

John Blanton When your argument against scientific resesrch is a cartoon, you are obviously on the wrong side of the issue.

So, let’s see what followed from that.

Skot Norton John Blanton a sixteen year old girl can be pretty scary!
Eric Boylan How about core samples show that the planet has had numerous instances of heating and cooling in faster periods of time. Before man. What about that research?
John Blanton Eric Boylan Scientific research discloses that a rising concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is causing average global temperatures (atmospheric and oceanic) to rise. Furthermore, human activity is the predominate cause of this increase in carbon dioxide. This is the argument you need to address. You need to demonstrate one or more of the following:
1. CO2 levels are not increasing.
2. Increased CO2 levels are not causing the increase in temperatures.
3. Global aversge temperatures are not rising.
4. Human activity is not causing the increase in CO2 levels.
Present any one of those arguments successfully, and you are done. You will have won the argument.
Are you on?
Eric Boylan Number 1…I do not need to address or demonstrate anything. But you need to keep your pompous ass in check old man.
But anyway. I’ll play your game a little bit.
In 2010 the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published a study of the earth’s climate 460-445 million years ago which found that an intense period of glaciation, not warming, occurred when CO2 levels were 5 times higher than they are today. How did humans create all that CO2? And why glaciers?
I win.
John Blanton Eric Boylan I like your attitude.
Actually you do need to demonstrate one of those four points, because that is what the discussion is about. The question is whether human activity today is causing global warming. If you can’t address any of these points, then you are only flailing at the wind. Your inability to respond hints at ignorance of the facts.
Game on.
Eric Boylan I did. I win.
Eric Boylan Ignorance? Says the guy who obviously has some dementia setting in. Maybe in your pathetic attempt of patronizing me you missed the glaciers and CO2 at five times the level of today. Again. You set the rules to your game. And I win.
Daniel G. Kuttner Eric: You have good points. I’d prefer on my posts you don’t take John‘s bait and go ad-hominem. You don’t need them and it lowers your argument.

PS I am also Chronologically Challenged, but wear the label “Old Man” with pride… for both words.

John Blanton Daniel G. Kuttner No, no. Eric, don’t listen to Dan. Take the bait. It’s going to be fun. I guarantee. Have I ever lied to you before. Kidded you a little maybe, but lied to you?
John Blanton Eric Boylan I really like your style. Will you be my Facebook friend? I will send you a friend request. Please accept me as your Facebook friend.
Daniel G. Kuttner John: Maybe you two WERE meant for each other!
Eric Boylan I don’t take bait. It’s me. Bait or not, it’s what you get.
Eric Boylan And since I have been dealing with this sarcoma my fuse is shorter
James Finkelstein Eric Boylan you. Lose. Unless you can demonstrate those changes took place in dozens of years and not hundreds of thousands or millions. Get it now?

As you can see, discussions with AGW deniers often involve a lot of heat and not much light. The concluding comment by James indicates there is some sanity remaining.

To be sure, Eric’s argument is a non-starter. You can talk all you want about what is said and what was said and what was promised and what was not. Discussions regarding prior ice ages and prior warming trends are interesting but not pertinent to today’s problem.

Well-grounded studies show carbon dioxide concentrations are rising and have been for decades. This increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is producing a rise in atmospheric and oceanic temperatures, and this has been going on for decades. Further, human activity is the predominate cause for the rise in carbon dioxide levels. Finally, a principal and observable result is polar ice is melting, and sea levels are rising as a result. Catastrophically, the complete loss of the Greenland ice will produce a 20-foot rise in ocean levels. Loss of the Antarctic ice cap will produce a sea level rise of 200 feet.

None of this is producing daily catastrophe—the ice caps are not melting that fast. Whether you should be alarmed depends on how far you are willing to look into the future, but the way to address the issue is not to ridicule the science but to work toward solutions.

Breathtaking Inanity

Number 21 of a continuing series

People, I definitely need help. Ether I have lost my mind or else the whole world is going wacko. The depth of inanity, from where I view it, is becoming unfathomable. Don’t believe me? Then view a recent exchange with some global warming (AGW) deniers. Pardon me, but I have decided not to redact the names of the correspondents.

It started out when a Facebook friend posted something from Fox News. The headline is “Kimberley Strassel: 2020 Dems vowing to ‘kill every coal job, every oil and gas job’ with climate goals.” I responded, letting on the world can survive without the coal industry, and things went downhill from there. The thread has multiple exchanges, and I am only keeping the pertinent ones. Here goes:

Edward Stansell All of the fuels we currently use can by present technology be made to burn clean. The real problem lies in the bogus designation of CO2 as a pollutant. Without CO2 there would be no plant life. Without plant life there’d be no animal life.

Edward Stansell Kevin Burris What do you expect out of mental defectives? We use canvas bags. They can ne used over and over. They don’t require cutting trees and they are better than those crappy plastic bags the handles or bottoms rip out of before we get them home.

Some cutting of trees is necessary. everything manufactured doesn’t have to have a container, paper or plastic. Most landfills consist mainly of used containers.

[Note: I included this bit because I so love the reference (which I highlighted) to “mental defectives.”]

John Blanton Edward Stansell Green plants depend on CO2. We need CO2 in the atmosphere. However, in my lifetime the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has gone from about 300 parts per million to over 400 ppm.

A basic physical principle is that CO2 absorbs infra red radiation. Atmospheric temperatures are driven by solar energy (light, infra red, etc.) and by heat sources within the earth (nuclear decay). A steady state is maintained when the heat lost to outer space (radiation) equals heat supplied by solar and nuclear. When things warm up, they radiate more, achieving a balance–steady state.

Increasing the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere raises the steady state temperature. We are experiencing a rise in average temperatures (steady state).

As always, details are on request.

Edward Stansell John Blanton According to what you say about CO2 absorbing infra-red radiation, the atmosphere and therefore the biosphere should be cooling. Please explain.

John Blanton Edward Stansell I’m glad you asked. When something absorbs infra-red it gets warmer. Let me know if you have any more questions.

After that last, I am at a loss for words. Quite obviously, humanity is lost. Is it time for me to check into the Neptune Society?

Update

Since posting the above there have been additions to the conversation. See the following:

Edward Stansell John Blanton Yes, but it didn’t adsorb the UV rays, they would still reach the earth’s surface and heat it, particularly the oceans.

John Blanton And your point being?

Edward Stansell John Blanton The point is that CO2 is not the cause of climate change. It would happen with or without it. Therefore there is no need to control the emissions of CO2.

I will not respond further on this Facebook thread. Comments posted by Edward Stansell and others speak for themselves.

Abusing Science

Number 35 of a series

2.1.5.2. Sea-level curve for Sydney Harbour (Port Denison) since 1940, with fitted polynomial curve of decelerating nature. Adapted from Watson, P.J. 2011. Is there evidence yet of acceleration in mean sea-level rise around mainland Australia? Journal of Coastal Research 27 : 368–377

Here’s how it works, fairly often. An exchange on Facebook:

Initial post (1): Sanders wants to make steel without use of fossil fuels. Hes a modern alchemist. Fascinating.

A response from me: Life would go on just fine if every coal mine were shut down. The age of coal is coming to an end. Details on request.

Followup response from me: I have a degree in physics, and I have studied chemistry. You can make steel without using fossil fuels. No magic is involved. Details on request.

Response from (1): John Blanton not at scale or economically. But that never matters to futurists or idelogical driven thinkers in any time. Just the dream not the practical

Response from me: I believe the original statement was calling Sanders an alchemist. Is it time to revise that statement?

Response from (2): Just rearrange the letters. Asshole. (If democrats can do it, so can I.}

Response from (1): John Blanton no. Because its not practical. Practical matters.

Response from me:  So, what is practical? An increase in the cost of producing steel or the cost to mitigate the effect of rising sea levels? My offer to provide details still stands. Any takers?

Response from (3):

And there you have it. A discussion regarding what is real and what is not devolves into the posting of an Internet meme with no explanation tendered. What (3) should have done was to pull up some research into the matter and to post excerpts and links to that. Such response being not forthcoming, I will do some of it myself.

An item that popped up close to the top of my Google search is this. See the graph above:

Key Findings The Hydrosphere • Little evidence exists for an overall increase in global precipitation during the twentieth century independent of natural multidecadal climate rhythmicity. • Monsoon precipitation did not become more variable or intense during late twentieth century warming; instead, precipitation responded mostly to variations in solar activity. • South American and Asian monsoons were more active during the cold Little Ice Age and less active during the Medieval Warm Period. Neither global nor local changes in streamflow have been linked to CO2 emissions. • The relationship between drought and global warming is weak, since severe droughts occurred during both the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age. • Knowledge of local sea-level change is vital for coastal management; such change occurs at widelyvariable rates around the world, typically between about +5 and -5 mm/year. • Global (eustatic) sea level, knowledge of which has only limited use for coastal management, rose at an average rate of between 1 and 2 mm/year over the past century. • Satellite altimeter studies of sea-level change indicate rates of global rise since 1993 of over 3 mm/year, but complexities of processing and the infancy of the method precludes viewing this result as secure. • Rates of global sea-level change vary in decadal and multidecadal ways and show neither recent acceleration nor any simple relationship with increasing CO2 emissions. • Pacific coral atolls are not being drowned by extra sea-level rise; rather, atoll shorelines are affected by direct weather and infrequent high tide events, ENSO sea level variations, and impacts of increasing human populations. • Extra sea-level rise due to heat expansion (thermosteric rise) is also unlikely given that the Argo buoy network shows no significant ocean warming over the past 9 years.

The article’s abstract contrasts with the lead graphic, which shows a sea level rise at Fort Denison. My search discloses numerous publications concerning sea level rise, or lack of it, at Sydney Harbor. One would think global warming is not contributing to sea level rise. One would think global warming does not exist. One would think global warming is not attributable to human activity. One would be at variance with a vast body of observation.

Greenland’s ice is melting at the rate scientists thought would be our worst-case scenario in 2070

Whether the United States purchases Greenland from Denmark or not, there is still a great gob of ice sitting the planet’s largest island. The following are statements of fact, something often lacking in Facebook exchanges.

Greenland’s ice is melting six times faster now than it was four decades ago.

The authors of a new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences estimate that the Greenland ice sheet is now sloughing off an average of 286 billion tons of ice per year. In 2012, Greenland lost more than 400 billion tons of ice.

Two decades ago, the annual average was just 50 billion.

All that lost ice means Greenland’s melting has contributed to more than 0.5 inches of global sea-level rise since 1972, the researchers reported. Alarmingly, half of that increase came about in the last eight years alone.

An additional statement of fact:

Ice sheets contain enormous quantities of frozen water. If the Greenland Ice Sheet melted, scientists estimate that sea level would rise about 6 meters (20 feet). If the Antarctic Ice Sheet melted, sea level would rise by about 60 meters (200 feet).

These facts can be disputed, and it is incumbent on people arguing the point to come back with facts. Respondent (3) posted a meme created by somebody else—not a way to convince anybody who is serious about the issue. To repudiate the assertion that CO2 emissions are economically damaging, somebody will need to put forth some numbers.

My question, as posted, was whether it is more practical to continue current CO2 emission rates and to pay the cost of mitigation. Would somebody like to comment on the cost of mitigating a 20-foot sea level rise? A 200-foot sea level rise? Get back to me with your numbers.

Abusing Science

Number 34 of a series

I previously reviewed this book. It’s a compendium of essays arguing against the science behind anthropogenic global warming (AGW). A particular refrain runs through the narrative:

They regard the shift in emphasis to have stemmed from a change in science funding towards reliance on governments with the political baggage this brings.

Abbot, Dr John. Climate Change: The Facts . Stockade Books. Kindle Edition.

She estimates money dedicated to promoting the global warming scare is maybe one hundred fold the funding to sceptics. She shows how the purveyors of human induced global warming use their funding to denigrate opponents and to hide contrary evidence.

Abbot, Dr John. Climate Change: The Facts . Stockade Books. Kindle Edition.

The theory of human-induced global warming is not science because research is based on a pre-ordained conclusion, huge bodies of evidence are ignored, and the analytical procedures are treated as evidence. Furthermore, climate ‘science’ is sustained by government research grants. Funds are not available to investigate theories that are not in accord with government ideology.

Abbot, Dr John. Climate Change: The Facts . Stockade Books. Kindle Edition.

Governments and their agencies claim that science supports their ideology, but while research grants are given to support this ideology, naysayers are denied grants, ignored, or—more commonly—pilloried. This doesn’t happen in many other branches of science, where competing theories are supported with research funds, ideas are energetically discussed, and theories are changed based on new validated evidence.

Abbot, Dr John. Climate Change: The Facts . Stockade Books. Kindle Edition.

The US alone spends $7 billion each year on ‘warming studies’ which, in truth, is nothing but a huge money laundering operation, since no real science is conducted. Vapid alarmist reports are the only product generated.

Abbot, Dr John. Climate Change: The Facts . Stockade Books. Kindle Edition.

It is noteworthy that Kuhn first wrote his manuscript in the late 1940s, which was prior to the completion of the large-scale transition of science to essentially a publicly-funded enterprise. Consequently, he does not explore how the need to keep public funds flowing through academia probably made paradigms more ‘sticky’ than they already are.

Abbot, Dr John. Climate Change: The Facts . Stockade Books. Kindle Edition.

By now you have noticed the common theme. In the book are 45 references to “funds,” “funding,” etc. Scientists who reinforce the concept of AGW receive grant money for additional research. Contrary research is starved for money. It’s a theme I also hear from the creationists. Scientist get funding for research that supports biological evolution by natural processes, while research into supernatural (religious) causes is denied critical funding and is also denied access to major centers for academic research. It’s the underdog argument.

Some underdog:

[David] Koch was a libertarian. He was the 1980 Libertarian candidate for Vice President of the United States and helped finance the campaign. He founded Citizens for a Sound Economy. He donated to political advocacy groups and to political campaigns, almost entirely Republican.He moved to the Republican Party in 1984; in 2012 he spent over $100 million to oppose the re-election of President Barack Obama. Through Americans for Prosperity and other dark money vehicles, he was a leading source of funding for climate change denial and attacks on environmental regulation, unions, and workers’ rights. Greenpeace estimates that the Koch brothers put $127 million into 92 groups involved in preventing action on climate change. His companies are among the biggest polluters in the United States.

David Koch, the younger of the two famous Koch brothers, died on Friday, leaving behind a legacy of self-serving denial of basic science. The book referenced above is from the Institute of Public Affairs.

The Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) is a conservative public policy think tank based in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. It advocates free market economic policies such as privatisation and deregulation of state-owned enterprises, trade liberalisation and deregulated workplaces, climate change denial, the abolition of the minimum wage, and the repeal of parts of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975.

A glaring sign of abuse of science is the money trail. Is the argument being promoted by an entity that has no real interest in truth about a matter? Is there a profit or religious motive involved? The consequences of an idea have no bearing on whether the idea is true. This is a theme that will be addressed in a future post.

Abusing Science

Number 26 of a series

When science is in conflict with political needs, it’s a great opportunity for the abuse of science. The current administration is not satisfied with the scientific consensus related to anthropogenic global warming, and reporting on the consensus is regularly under attack.

By Lisa Friedman June 8, 2019

WASHINGTON — The White House tried to stop a State Department senior intelligence analyst from discussing climate science in congressional testimony this week, internal emails and documents show.

The State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research declined to make changes to the proposed testimony and the analyst, Rod Schoonover, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University, was ultimately allowed to speak before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on Wednesday.

But in a highly unusual move, the White House refused to approve Dr. Schoonover’s written testimony for entry into the permanent Congressional Record. The reasoning, according to a June 4 email seen by The New York Times, was that the science did not match the Trump administration’s views.

Norman J. Ornstein, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative policy group, said that it was common for the White House to vet agency testimony to Congress to ensure it did not contradict administration policy.

There are private religious groups opposing the science of biological evolution, but opposition to findings regarding AGW is now funded by the American taxpayers.

Abusing Science

Number 24 of a series

Billboards in Chicago paid for by The Heartland Institute along the inbound Eisenhower Expressway in Maywood, Illinois. Photograph: The Heartland Institute

People can misuse science for a number of reasons, but the two that come to mind are:

  1. They are ignorant and do not understand the science in question.
  2. It is to their religious, political, or economic advantage to misrepresent scientific findings.

This appears to be a case of the latter:

A MAJOR COAL COMPANY WENT BUST. ITS BANKRUPTCY FILING SHOWS THAT IT WAS FUNDING CLIMATE CHANGE DENIALISM.

THE BANKRUPTCY OF one of the largest domestic coal producers in the country has revealed that the company maintains financial ties to many of the leading groups that have sowed doubt over the human causes of global warming.

The disclosures are from Cloud Peak Energy, a Wyoming-based coal mining corporation that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on May 10. The company had been battered by low coal prices, including in international markets cultivated by the firm.

The documents in the court docket show that the coal giant gave contributions to leading think tanks that have attacked the link between the burning of fossil fuels and climate change, as well as to several conservative advocacy groups that have attempted to undermine policies intended to shift the economy toward renewable energy. The documents do not include information on the size of the contributions, yet, taken as a whole, the list of groups Cloud Peak Energy helped fund are indicative of how the company prioritized pushing climate denialism. The company did not respond to a request for comment.

Regarding the Institute for Energy Research, Wikipedia has this to say:

The IER is the successor organization to the Institute for Humane Studies of Texas, an advocacy group established in 1984 by billionaire businessman and political donor Charles Koch. After failing to pay the Texas state franchise tax, IHST lost its charter in 1989, and was later rebranded as the Institute for Energy Research, or IER, under the presidency of Robert L. Bradley Jr., the former director of public policy analysis for Enron. IER began by distributing quarterly reports to a small but growing list of donors in the early 1990s and eventually expanded its publishing capabilities to include highly publicized studies. It was not until 2001 when Bradley secured funding to make IER a full-time organization. In 2007, IER was moved to Washington, D.C. where it transformed itself into an energy think tank producing research and analysis on global energy markets.

In 2009, an article in Mother Jones magazine said IER was among the most prominent organizations questioning the existence and extent of anthropogenic climate change.

ALEC we have seen before. Wikipedia has this entry:

The shooting of Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012 led to increased public attention on “Stand-your-ground” gun laws that ALEC had supported. Color of Change launched a new campaign in April to pressure ALEC corporate members to withdraw. More than sixty corporations and foundations, including Coca-ColaWendy’sKraft FoodsMcDonald’sAmazon.comGeneral ElectricAppleProcter & GambleWalmart, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the medical insurance group Blue Cross and Blue Shield dropped support of ALEC in the ensuing weeks or let their memberships lapse. Thirty-four legislative members also left ALEC.

ALEC responded by releasing a statement describing efforts by its critics as a “campaign launched by a coalition of extreme liberal activists committed to silencing anyone who disagrees with their agenda”. Doug Clopp of Common Cause credited ALEC Exposed for the successful campaign, saying that “for 40 years you couldn’t get the kind of accountability we’re seeing now because ALEC, its members, its legislators, its bills were secret.”

Former Visa Inc. lobbyist, Newt Gingrich aide, and GOPAC executive director, Lisa B. Nelson, succeeded Scheberle as CEO of ALEC in 2014.

In late 2014, a number of technology-oriented companies such as GoogleMicrosoftFacebookEbay, and Yahoo! announced that they were ending their ties to ALEC. Multiple companies cited environmental concerns as a point of contention with the organization.

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt remarked that ALEC was “just literally lying” about recent global climate change.

If you have any doubt remaining, companies with an interest in opposing the science behind anthropogenic global warming are paying companies such as these to misrepresent the scientific argument. It’s well-funded abuse of science.

Abusing Science

Number 20 of a series

This series is dedicated to stories related to abuse of science. Abuse can take a number of forms, including outright fraud. Sometimes the approach is to talk it to death. This appears to be the approach in a video from Fox News. It’s the Mark Levin Show from last year. I see no indication of when this aired, but it was posted to YouTube on 21 October 2018.

Here we see host Mark Levin interviewing Patrick Michaels, a real scientist involved in climate research. Put it all together, Fox News, Mark Levin, Patrick Michaels—it’s going to be some kind of global warming denial. From Wikipedia:

Patrick J. (“Pat“) Michaels (born February 15, 1950) is an American climatologist. Michaels is a senior fellow in environmental studies at the Cato Institute. Until 2007 he was research professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia, where he had worked from 1980.[2][3]

A self-described skeptic on the issue of global warming, he is a past president of the American Association of State Climatologists. He has written a number of books and papers on climate change, including Sound and Fury: The Science and Politics of Global Warming (1992), The Satanic Gases (2000), and Meltdown: The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians, and the Media (2004). He’s also the co-author of Climate of Extremes: Global Warming Science They Don’t Want You to Know (2009).[2] Michaels’ viewpoint, as argued in a 2002 article in the journal Climate Research, is that the planet will see “a warming range of 1.3–3.0°C, with a central value of 1.9°C” for the 1990 to 2100 period (a value far smaller than the IPCC’s average predictions).

Yes, I forgot to mention the Cato Institute:

The Cato Institute is an American libertarian think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C. It was founded as the Charles Koch Foundation in 1974 by Ed CraneMurray Rothbard, and Charles Koch, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the conglomerate Koch Industries. In July 1976, the name was changed to the Cato Institute. Cato was established to have a focus on public advocacy, media exposure and societal influence.[8]According to the 2017 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report (Think Tanks and Civil Societies ProgramUniversity of Pennsylvania), Cato is number 15 in the “Top Think Tanks Worldwide” and number 10 in the “Top Think Tanks in the United States”.

The Cato Institute is libertarian in its political philosophy, and advocates a limited role for government in domestic and foreign affairs. This includes support for abolishing minimum wage laws; opposition to universal health care; the privatization of many government agencies including Social Security, NASA, and the United States Postal Service as well as public schooling; abolishing child labor laws; and a non-interventionist foreign policy.

I have encountered the Cato Institute before and have noted they often come down against scientific studies that go against their philosophical leaning. With all that said about Michaels and Cato, what really counts is what is true and what they have to say about it. You can see what Michaels has to say by watching the video, and there appears to be a transcript on line dated 21 October 2018. I will post a few excerpts. Start with this.

LEVIN: It’s a great honor to see you, Patrick Michaels, doctor. Expert on all things climate and environment, as far as I’m concerned. A little bit of your background. You’re the Director of the Center for Study of Science at the Cato Institute. You hold an AB and SM, you hold those degrees in Biology, Sciences and Plant Ecology from the University of Chicago – pretty good school. PhD in Ecological Climatology from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, 1979. You’re past President of the American Association of State Climatologists. You were Program Chairman for the Committee on Applied Climatology at the American Meteorological Society. Say that fast five times.

That is some build-up, and I recall seeing this kind of thing before. When creationists introduced an authority to debunk evolution, they would go to great lengths to lay out  his credentials to make sure I knew this was not some blowhard come to dish the dirt. I must declare my suspicions get tickled when I see this kind of thing.

With that, it will be interesting to see what Patrick Michaels has to say. To start, he does not deny global warming, and he does not deny an element of human contribution. His assessment is that we are behind about half the observed rise, and the rest is natural.

MICHAELS: Well, surface temperature of the planet is warmer than it was a hundred years ago about 9/10th of a degree Celsius.

LEVIN: Nine-tenth degree of a degree Celsius.

MICHAELS: That’s all.

LEVIN: Is that a lot?

MICHAELS: No. It’s not a lot. There are two periods of warning, one in the early 20th Century that could not have been caused by human beings because we hadn’t put enough CO2 in the air, and one in the later part of the 20th Century that either slows down or ends depending upon whose data you use somewhere in the late 1990s, only to resume with the big El Nino that covered the news the last couple of years.

So that means that probably about half, maybe half of that nine-tenths of the degree might be caused by greenhouse gases because when the planet warmed beginning in 1976, the temperature of the stratosphere started to drop and that’s the prediction of greenhouse theory that’s not intuitive. The great philosopher of science Karl Popper said, if you can meet a difficult prediction with your theory, you can continue to entertain your theory.

Stop here for a moment. “[O]nly to resume with the big El Nino that covered the news the last couple of years.” Professor Michaels, an El Niño  event is a weather phenomenon, confined to a locality (large in this case) of the planet. Stuff like that gets ironed out in the averages. For perspective, the most recent temperature plots I have—representing global averages—show a continued rise to the present day. Here is one from Berkeley Earth, and I have preserved the largest available size to enable you to examine it up close. Click on the image to get the large view.

He also talks about atmospheric modeling, which figures greatly in predicting the effects of adding CO2 to the atmosphere. He wants us to know the bulk of models being used are worthless and he lays this at the feet of the practice of parameterizing the models.

But we just don’t really have a good explanation for that, but because we forced the computer models to say, “Aha, human influence, CO2 and other stuff.” We made the models too sensitive, and so that’s why when you get to the late 20th Century, all of a sudden they’re warming up like crazy and the reality is down here. It was guaranteed to happen.

This was revealed in “Science” magazine in late 2016, and there was a paper that was published by a French climate modeler called “The Art and Science of Climate Model Tuning,” and in it, he speaks of parameterizing — we could say fudging — the models to give, his words, an anticipated acceptable range of results. [emphasis added]

Being what I am, I felt the need to track down this particular reference. In truth, I could find no such article appearing in Science magazine in the weeks (October) preceding the 2016 election. I did find this: “Using climate models to estimate the quality of global observational data sets.” Science, 28 October 2016, Vol. 354 Issue 6311, p. 452. There is an item with a similar name: “The Art and Science of Climate Model Tuning,” which Michaels may have been thinking about, but this was not published in Science, and it came out in 2017, not 2016. You can pull it up to read for yourself, but here is the abstract:

We survey the rationale and diversity of approaches for tuning, a fundamental aspect of
climate modeling, which should be more systematically documented and taken into account in multimodel analysis.

An introductory paragraph:

As is often the case in sciences that address complex systems, numerical models have become central in climate science (Edwards 2001). General circulation models of the atmosphere were originally developed for numerical weather forecasting (e.g., Phillips 1956). The coupling of global atmospheric and oceanic models began with Manabe and Bryan (1969) and came of age in the 1980s and 1990s. Global climate models or Earth system models (ESMs) are nowadays used extensively to study climate changes caused by anthropogenic and natural perturbations (Lynch 2008; Edwards 2010). The evaluation and improvement of these global models is the driver of much theoretical and observational research. Publications that analyze the simulations coordinated at an international level in the frame of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP) constitute a large part of the material synthesized in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment Reports. Beyond their use for prediction and
projection at meteorological to climatic time scales, global models play a key role in climate science. They are used to understand and assess the mechanisms at work, while accounting for the complexity of the climate system and for the spatial and temporal scales involved (Dalmedico 2001; Held 2005).

Michaels decries the climate models being used by various governments, except, he says, the one used by the Russians is accurate. Additionally he displays a plot that purports to show the divergence between the parameterized models and actual measurements. Here it is. Click on the image to get the full size:

Sum of the story, Michaels is jawboning the issue. He agrees that humans are contributing to global warming, but he excuses this by noting there are other contributions. He points to outrageous predictions and shows how they failed. He notes the increase in property damage by weather correlates to the increase in property to be damaged (in terms of the GDP). But he never denies the existence of the human contribution, which he cannot. I urge readers to watch the video and get back to me. There is more I would be able to add, given more time and space.

Next up: a YouTube video pushing some weird science.

Abusing Science

Number 20 of a series

This is a continuation of the dissection of Dan Kuttner’s 11 points regarding the science behind AGW, anthropogenic global warming. Dan posted these on Facebook a few months ago, and he reposted them again this year. He challenges readers to answer his 11 points, and he has agreed to allow me to use his name. He says in a separate communication that this is not a prank and he considers these to be serious matters. Here are Dan’s remaining seven points:

5. Since “Climate Change” is the new mantra, how and where is the climate changing?

The ocean and atmosphere temperatures are rising.

6. Since [fill in name of crisis] is bad, what is the “proper” temperature of the world without the influence of man-made CO2?

There is no proper temperature. What is desired is that the average global temperature not change radically. We built cities, populated land areas, created industries based on temperatures of the past few hundred years. A rise in average temperatures of more than a few degrees will result in enormous economic impact.

7. How has the correlation of an alleged increase in man-made CO2 and global temperatures been used to prove >> causation << by man?

The rise in CO2 concentration in the atmosphere corresponds with the amount of CO2 from fossil fuels introduced into the atmosphere by human activity.

8. How will paying a tax to a mandated monopoly headed by Al Gore’s British company fix the world’s emission of greenhouse gases?

It probably does not, so it does not make sense for me to respond to this non-existent event.

9. Since so far none of the climate-alarmists’ predictions have come true, why should we believe them today?

If by “alarmist” is meant grossly exaggerated claims, then you should not believe them. What is to be believed are the claims made by serious scientists. You should also believe the observed changes in the climate and the observed effects.

10. Since the claimed increase in temperatures and rise in sea levels are less than the statistical margin of error for even an excellent sample, how can any claim of an increase be made?

The premise of the question is incorrect. This is an instance of the logical fallacy called “begging the question.” First, the increase in temperature measured is within the statistical margin of error. Second, given a sufficient number of samples, accurate measurements can be obtained, even if individual measurements are imprecise.

11. If Global Warming is real, why have the main proponents of it been caught at least THREE times faking, fudging or redefining the figures to make it come out that way?(e.g. East Anglia’s “climate-gate” emails).

This is another example of begging the question. The person who presented this question must demonstrate the premise is true if a serious response is required.

This set of 11 points is representative of many of the attacks on legitimate climate science. When the opponents of an idea are unable to present cogent opposition, then the impression grows that there is no valid opposition. That is the case with the matter of anthropogenic global warming. The science is based on valid principles, it is being carried out by responsible and capable people, and results are in agreement with observed conditions. My own observation is that opposition to this science is mostly politically motivated, without any valid arguments being presented. In short, the opposition is a hoax of the worst kind.

Quiz Question

Number 200 of a series

Here is a nice problem, not too difficult, pertinent to a current hot topic.

Hypothetical scenario: Nothing is adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide has a 100-year half life in the atmosphere. We crank up a contraption that pumps 100 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year. How much carbon dioxide is in the atmosphere when  a steady state is obtained?

Post your answer as a comment below. Extra points for describing the calculation.

 

 

Abusing Science

Number 19 of a series

This is a continuation of the dissection of Dan Kuttner’s 11 points regarding the science behind AGW, anthropogenic global warming. Dan posted these on Facebook a few months ago, and he reposted them again this year. He challenges readers to answer his 11 points, and he has agreed to allow me to use his name. He says in a separate communication that this is not a prank and he considers these to be serious matters. Here is Dan’s point number 4:

If global warming is happening, why did they change the name of the crisis to “Climate Change?”

Once again, Dan has assured me he is serious about his 11 points, and this is not some kind of come-on. Respecting that, this is an easy question to answer. And here is mine.

Global warming is still the problem. To be sure, global warming is logically a subset of climate change. If the air and oceans get warmer, the climate is going to change. There is going to be a shift in weather patterns. Predicting what the shift will be is a keener problem than predicting temperatures will rise. So far we have seen temperatures rise in our life times, and we are witness to some of the consequences: melting land and sea ice, rising sea levels, flooding of low-lying coastal regions. Other consequences, less rain here, more rain there, stronger and more frequent storms, some of this can be attributed to rising global temperatures. It is difficult to determine which event is one of the consequences of global warming.

This is your president speaking.

Number 206 in a series

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

Wind turbines are not only killing millions of birds, they are killing the finances & environment of many countries & communities.

The image above is President Trump at a political rally, speaking to his supporters. What is amazing is not that the United States President would make such a statement, but that supposedly intelligent people—people who can read, people who handle sharp objects, operate heavy machinery and vote—are not laughing. Takes my breath away.

Abusing Science

Number 18 of a series

This is a continuation of the dissection of Dan Kuttner’s 11 points regarding the science behind AGW, anthropogenic global warming. Dan posted these on Facebook a few months ago, and he reposted them again this year. He challenges readers to answer his 11 points, and he has agreed to allow me to use his name. He says in a separate communication that this is not a prank and he considers these to be serious matters. Here is Dan’s point number 3:

How have other climate variables, such as the sunspot cycle and naturally produced gases including, but not limited to, CO2 been subtracted from the IECC climate model?

The first thing I had to do was to figure out what is the IECC climate model. “The IECC® is a model energy building code produced by the International Code Council® (ICC®). It is referred to as a “model” code because it was developed through a public hearing process by national experts under the direction of the ICC.

Dan may be confused here, since the IECC climate model is not a main driving force behind AGW science. But his question deserves some kind of answer, and here is mine.

Start with the data plot above. That shows global temperature changes compared to sun activity. The thing to note is that temperature change does not track solar activity, which is comparatively flat. Compare the solar activity plot to the CO2 plot from the Keeling measurements below. These measurements show a dramatic increase in CO2 levels since 1958, when the study began.

The final answer to Dan’s question is the effects of other factors are effectively subtracted out due to their being relatively constant during the study period. The only other greenhouse gas that has changed notably is methane, and it is recognized that methane introduced by human activity is contributing to global warming.

Abusing Science

Number 17 of a series

Continuing from last week (see the above link), here is Dan Kuttner’s point number 2:

Since Mercury, Venus and Mars’ temperatures have been rising, how does the CO2 count on Earth affect those planets?

My initial response is, “Do I really have to answer this question?” When I engaged Dan Kuttner a few days ago about his Facebook posting I asked him if these were serious questions. He assured me he considers them to be serious, and I agreed to take him at his word. So here goes.

Duh!

There is no relation between carbon dioxide levels in Earth’s atmosphere and the temperatures on Mercury, Venus, and Mars. May I be allowed to stop right now?

Next week’s post will address Dan’s point number 3. See the list.

Abusing Science

Number 16 of a series

Last week I posted Dan Kuttner’s 11 points titled “Some questions on the science behind Global Warming.” The idea being these 11 points seriously bring into question the validity of the science behind anthropogenic global warming (AGW). Dan is of a conservative bent, and a theme running through American conservative politics is that AGW is hoax science. I will not rehash any motivations conservatives may have for leaning in that direction; that is for another day. I will address Dan’s point number 1:

How does CO2, which is 1.4x heavier than air at sea level, get above the troposphere to cause a greenhouse effect?

I am one of those who contend there is no such thing as a stupid question. There are exceptions. This question is worded in the worst possible way. First off, whoever composed it confuses “heavier” and “denser.” Carbon dioxide does, itself, not have a weight, but it is denser than air. If air has a density of 1.00 on some scale, then carbon dioxide has a density of 1.53 (my first-order calculation). So even if point 1 meant to say “denser” it would have still been wrong. This is an example of the logical fallacy called “begging the question.” A question is posed with a premise pre-loaded.

And while I am being pedantic, 1.4 times heavier is not the same as 1.4 times as heavy as. 1.4 times heavier is 2.4 times as heavy as. It’s the English language, folks.

Now for the second part. Granted that carbon dioxide is denser than air, how does it get above the troposphere? Dan is a qualified airplane pilot, and one the things taught in pilot training is atmospheric science. From that he should have learned that gases in the troposphere are fairly well-mixed by atmospheric turbulence. The concentration remains abut 400 parts per billion by volume throughout. In truth, I found no figures for carbon dioxide in the stratosphere, but there is no reason to believe the gas does not propagate to that region.

But here is the sticker. Dan’s question is again loaded. The premise is that carbon dioxide needs to get into the stratosphere to have an effect on global warming. The fact is that the vast bulk of the atmosphere is in the troposphere, and also it matters little at what altitude carbon dioxide is encountered. It absorbs infra red radiation at any altitude, and it is particularly effective in the lower regions, close to the ground. Energy absorption by carbon dioxide warms the atmosphere close to the ground, keeping the surface warm and causing the surface to absorb the trapped energy. The oceans particularly become warmer by this process.

And that should answer Dan’s spurious question regarding carbon dioxide in the troposphere and the stratosphere. The next post in this series will address Dan’s point number 2. Keep reading.

This is your president speaking.

Number 202 in a series

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace: “The whole climate crisis is not only Fake News, it’s Fake Science. There is no climate crisis, there’s weather and climate all around the world, and in fact carbon dioxide is the main building block of all life.” Wow!

The president is quoting Patrick Moore.

Patrick Albert Moore (born 1947) is a former environmentalist and member of Greenpeace.

After leaving Greenpeace and becoming a paid advocate for the oil & gas industry, Moore has criticized the environmental movement for what he calls scare tactics and disinformation, saying that the environmental movement “abandoned science and logic in favor of emotion and sensationalism”.

Moore apparently was being featured on Fox & Friends when he made the remarks. President Trump, delighted to find a claimed environmentalist chiming agreement with one of his pet narratives, happily repeated the good news on Twitter.

Take note: despite claims to the contrary, Moore was not the founder of Greenpeace. Read the entry from Wikipedia linked above.

Our president continues to demonstrate what a “very intelligent person” he is. Take joy.