Sunday, February 21, 2010

E pur se muove

The Gormogons have a great post explaining the denialist position
for global warming:

Further, when we hear outlandish statements that cold waves are the result of GW, and that heavy precipitation is the result of GW, and that record snowfall is the result of GW, we really question whether you are stopping to think before you speak to the press. Yeah, some science makes no sense at first: all galaxies are moving away from the others, so that if you pick a random galaxy, every other galaxy appears to be moving away from it? But then you paint dots on a balloon and inflate the balloon...and suddenly the crazy concept is perfectly obvious. We are awaiting these analogies and demonstrations. Because until they arrive, you look foolish.

Maybe if your data checked out. But day after day comes another revelation of a flawed study, or that temperatures stopped increasing, or that something was incorrectly recorded. Maybe you should just stop and start over from scratch with a fresh approach. In football, this is called a punt. Science tries them all the time, but evidently only in other fields.

Hence, in a nutshell, here is what the average Denialist actually believes (and get ready to be surprised at how off-base your assessment of our concerns could be):

Denialists believe that climate science is a new and emerging field, with new discoveries and realizations frequently changing basic assumptions. We understand that observations (in the water, on the ground, in the air) conflict and often indicate a fluid and changing nature. We fully accept that some temperatures may be increasing, that atmospheric composition could be affected by man, and that these have long-term effects which may be disastrous for millions of people.

... and they continue on from there, go read the whole thing.

I'd also add that I agree with the Jerry Pournelle point of view, we don't have enough data, we
should be spending more on data. He often references Bayesian analysis, where as more
data arrives you get a better answer (we use it for decoding noisy communications from
downhole tools)

The warmists are still stuck on the precautionary principle, because there's a risk of something
bad happening we should panic and destroy our economies in the hope of preventing this
bad thing. Even as each drip drip drip of exposed bad data tells me that the bayesian
probability of something bad happening is less and less and the correct thing to do is
gather more data.

I'm not that worried about Co2, and though I think we are close to peak oil production there
are plenty more hydrocarbons available (maybe at higher prices). We should be working
on reducing imports of hydrocarbons and trying to find the economic green energy answer
that solves our energy import answer and not the global warming answer.

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