Friday, April 24, 2009


Ian O'Doherty today, in a rage at 'intolerant' Liberals, included the statement:
'when you have some idiot like the Green Party's Ciaran Cuffe asking the Indo's John Meagher "are you a denier?" simply because Meagher pointed out that thousands of scientists signed a letter rubbishing the accepted myth of global warming, you can see the levels of arrogance and hubris held by these people.'
Of course, unless there's something I don't know, Ian O'Doherty is not an Earth Scientist. So basically he's choosing to believe one side over the other. And he's wrong.

I’m guessing he means this report: “More Than 700 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims”, which isn’t thousands, but that’s a minor quibble.

A well known ‘Denialist’ tactic used by a lot of people who, for whatever reason, choose what they want to believe when it comes to scientific enquiry – is the use of ‘Fake’ experts. Genuine experts have experience in their field, and they can provide answers that are consistent with the state of knowledge in that field. ‘Fake’ experts are relied upon for their credentials rather than any real experience in the field at issue. They promote arguments that are inconsistent with the literature and that aren't generally accepted by those who study the field in question.

With regards to the specific list it has been debunked here and here. Why? Because while most of these individuals can (loosely in a lot of cases) be termed ‘scientists’, their credentials simply do not warrant their opinions been taking seriously unless they can point to literature or research that shows that they have earned a right to have their opinion on the matter respected. And as for the economists on the list? Well their continued inclusion is frankly laughable all things considered.

Climate modelling is difficult to understand, difficult to follow and, unfortunately, is ripe for charlatans of whatever hue to draw any conclusion that will get them headlines. None of them help. A good start, however, is to realise that weather and climate are not the same thing and that meteorologists are generally no more qualified to comment on climate change than Astrophysicists. How many Earth Scientists contributed to the list? And what percentage of the total number of affiliated Earth Scientists (members of, for example, the American Geophysical Union) is that number? ‘Fuck all’, and ‘iconsequential’ are the answers.

It is a shame that Humanities graduates in the media who think the ‘science bit’ is too boring for Ordinary Joes and that all ‘scientists’ are an equivalent bunch of geeks and eccentrics in white coats, split down the middle on every issue (because, of course, there are ‘two sides to every story’ and there should be ‘balanced discussion’) are able to so dictate public opinion and public understanding on scientific issues.

Anyway consult Real Climate. In there, somewhere, probably every prejudice against the facts of man-made global warming you have heard is debunked with real science.
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