Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Engaging With Climate Skeptics

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the fighting-polarization dept.

Earth 822

In the wake of the CRU "climategate" leak, reader Geoffrey.landis sends along a New York Times blog profile of Judith Curry, a climate scientist at Georgia Tech. "Curry — unlike many climate scientists — does not simply dismiss the arguments of 'climate skeptics,' but attempts to engage them in dialogue. She can, as well, be rather pointed in criticizing her colleagues, as in a post on the skeptic site climateaudit where she argues for greater transparency for climate data and calculations (mirrored here). In this post she makes a point that tribalism in science is the main culprit here —- that when scientists 'circle the wagons' to defend against what they perceive to be unfair (and unscientific) attacks, the result can be damaging to the actual science being defended. Is it still possible to conduct a dialogue, or is there no possible common ground?"

cancel ×

822 comments

Great... (-1, Flamebait)

Ironchew (1069966) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248294)

Let's engage with evolution skeptics and round earth skeptics while we're at it.

Oops.. Too Late (1)

CranberryKing (776846) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248312)

You already are. Err. evolution, not round earth.

Re:Great... (5, Informative)

bheer (633842) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248384)

The claims of evolution skeptics and round-earth skeptics is not backed up by observation and evidence. On the other hand, the more extreme claims of anthropogenic global warming _proponents_ are not backed up with sufficient observation and are extrapolated from very small datasets.

Given all of this, to say the "science is settled" is a travesty, and all those who said so fully deserve what's come so far and is undoubtedly coming as there's greater public and scientific scrutiny of their methods:

a) the Yamal tree-ring data [telegraph.co.uk] - data from 10 trees is extrpolated into a 'trend' and finds its way into a number of papers
b) CRU emails - won't say much more, too much said about this already.
c) New Zealand average temperature graphs [telegraph.co.uk] - high-school style 'cooking the graph' to match expectations

At this point, climate scientists who don't open up their raw data, modelling code and assumptions/decision-making are going to look as sleazy as PHB managers who forecast self-serving weird shit to make themselves look good to their bosses.

Re:Great... (-1, Troll)

corbettw (214229) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248532)

Gotta make one point: not nearly enough has been said about the CRU email and data. The short version of everything that's come out so far is: the leading climate scientists pushing AGW were lying left, right, and center, and there is absolutely no evidence, not even a little, to support global warming, let alone AGW. If you haven't done so already, go to Wikileaks and read the source code for the software they were using for their famous models. It's pretty damning stuff when the code shows exactly where they were manipulating data and putting in fake numbers.

Re:Great... (3, Informative)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248688)

Yeah, you're right.

None of that melting ice caps, record glacial melts, and lack of ozone layer above the Antartic stuff means anything. All of it's BS.

I'll grant you that transparency hasn't been very good. But you can ignore that little passage between Thule and Vancouver that's nearly ice free now.

Re:Great... (5, Insightful)

Rising Ape (1620461) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248758)

The short version of everything that's come out so far is: the leading climate scientists pushing AGW were lying left, right, and center, and there is absolutely no evidence, not even a little, to support global warming, let alone AGW. If you haven't done so already,

I've seen it, it shows nothing of the sort. It shows people having considerable difficulty in combining data sets in a consistent and reliable way. This is always a tricky problem. Your "data manipulation" could easily be correction factors for systematic errors or problems with particular data sets. But of course a private note that was never meant to be read is hardly going to be a complete, detailed and fully explained document, is it?

I can only assume that people are reading into it what they want to see.

Re:Great... (5, Informative)

bhima (46039) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248776)

Your 'point' is is not factually correct. Nothing in the CRU email and data indicates scientists who subscribe to an anthropogenic cause of climate change have not been systematically lying or engaging in unethical practices to support their work. There already are *mountains* of evidence from a huge array of sciences supporting both climate change and an anthropogenic cause. And nothing on Wikileaks invalidates any of the work done at CRU or any other climate research institute.

The reality of all that hoopla is the people doing the agitating had long since decided that not only can the climate not change but even if it did man couldn't possibly have an impact.

Climate skeptics have no arguments (1, Insightful)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248602)

... just personal attacks and outright lies.

Re:Great... (5, Insightful)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248666)

Yeah, the imprecision of the language here always irks me. When you say climate change skeptics, that's not a single entity. Do they mean the hard core 'the earth can't change' types, the ones who think climate change is influenced by both people and natural cycles to one degree or another, the ones who just say it happens but it isn't the end of the world, or some other group who simply doesn't buy into the next scheduled apocalypse? When you say evolution skeptics (deniers), you're almost always talking about a member of a fairly homogeneous group who started with a conclusion and worked backwards, a position that rarely has much merit in its entirety. Not so with this. Yeah, there are some out there like that, but that's hardly the full range of things.

Re:Great... (1)

TroyM (956558) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248476)

Come on, everybody knows the Earth is round - like a circle. The Bible clearly states that. Now if you want to try to argue that the Earth is spherical, that a different matter.

Re:Great... (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248616)

Why would I argue that the Earth is spherical? It's an ellipsoid [wikipedia.org] .

ESR said it very well - Open Source Science (5, Insightful)

bheer (633842) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248296)

Open-sourcing the Global Warming Debate [ibiblio.org] :

AGW true believers and "denialists" should be able to agree on this: the data get the last word, because without them theory is groundless. The only way for the CRU researchers to clear themselves of the imputation of serious error or fraud is full disclosure of the measurement techniques, the raw primary data sets, the code used to reduce them, and of their decisions during the process of interpretation. They should have nothing to hide; let them so demonstrate by hiding nothing.

In short, if computer models are the primary tool in making all sorts of climate predictions, then let's have transparency in building the models and getting conclusions from them.

Re:ESR said it very well - Open Source Science (5, Insightful)

slashkitty (21637) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248402)

Yes, thank you. I really hope that ClimateGate and Open Source can convince those publishing to open up.

While I do think there is climate change, I think that many of the "disaster scenarios" are over hyped.. and I think that Gore and his "it is all already completely decided everything I is fact and no reasonable scientist can argue with me" is bullcrap.

Re:ESR said it very well - Open Source Science (2, Interesting)

mrcaseyj (902945) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248710)

Moderating parent troll is moderation abuse. Some are in denial when they think this scandal only impacts a few climate scientists. It significantly impacts many other entirely different fields of science, so of course it seriously impacts the credibility of ALL climate research. NIWA made a partial explanation of the adjustments they made to the data in New Zealand, but they haven't committed to releasing an explanation of all their calculations. Furthermore their glacier melting graph looks a little misleading. The glacier melting in that graph doesn't look significant, especially if you realize most of the down part of the graph was only a couple years. According to the graph, the glaciers grew considerably for periods not long ago when global warming should have been melting them. It makes me wonder if the whole glaciers and arctic melting, and sea level rise are fake also. There may not be any global warming at all, or maybe little more than minor natural fluctuations.

But it goes beyond the computer models. (5, Interesting)

MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248556)

Let's have some light shone on the temperature data and how it is collected:
From Surfacestations.org [wordpress.com] [pdf], a project to survey all 1221 of the climate-monitoring stations in the U.S.:

During the past few years I recruited a team of more than 650 volunteers to visually inspect and photographically document more than 860 of these temperature stations. We were shocked by what we found.

We found stations located next to the exhaust fans of air conditioning units, surrounded by asphalt parking lots and roads, on blistering-hot rooftops, and near sidewalks and buildings that absorb and radiate heat. We found 68 stations located at wastewater treatment plants, where the process of waste digestion causes temperatures to be higher than in surrounding areas.

In fact, we found that 89 percent of the stations – nearly 9 of every 10 – fail to meet the National Weather Service’s own siting requirements that stations must be 30 meters (about 100 feet) or more away from an artificial heating or radiating/reflecting heat source.

And let's not forget the international methods [wattsupwiththat.com] of survey.

Re:ESR said it very well - Open Source Science (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30248590)

Moderated "Troll"?! How the hell do you justify that?

Climatology software is not an OS kernel (1)

liquiddark (719647) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248798)

Computer models composed by incredibly specialized scientists who've got Ph.Ds in the area under study aren't exactly the same as "software" in a general, loosey-goosey way. You wouldn't open source most business applications precisely because their operation relies on very strict sets of assumptions that work (or don't work) because the people who are building and configuring the systems for that business know (or don't know) precisely how the business should work

Re:ESR said it very well - Open Source Science (1)

realcoolguy425 (587426) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248844)

Everything comes down to the data, and how it is interpreted. CO2 has been pegged as a gas that will cause positive-feedback runaway global warming, and every model has CO2 as the villain. The data we have does not backup this model either! So the very basis of these computer models need a lot more scrutiny.

Then again, who's going to be able to build a climate model that will be able to account for cloud formations and increased/reduced solar activity? Which I still believe has way more affect than CO2 does on the global temperature.

A question (5, Interesting)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248310)

Where do all the scientists who are skeptics fit in?

Re:A question (1, Troll)

lupine (100665) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248356)

The basement of the heritage foundation?

People like you are a large part of the problem (5, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248582)

This attitude that when it comes to climate science it is a "With us or against us," sort of thing. Either someone accepts that humans are causing climate change, that the results will be catastrophic and so on or they are the ENEMY. Skepticism, dissent, etc are not tolerated. If you don't tow the party line, you are clearly in the pocket of the industry or a moron or whatever, worthy only of being shouted down and silenced.

That sort of attitude is a large part of what leads to the polarization of the issue, and is precisely what it seems that this person is trying to work against. If you have the attitude that anyone who is skeptical of your theory at all is to be dismissed a priori, well then you aren't going to win many converts, are you?

Also I should note that attitudes like this make many people like me extremely skeptical. Whenever people act in a manner that demands unquestioning support, when they simply shout down those that disagree and attempt to silence them, when they are secretive about their methods and data, when they appeal to a consensus, when they say debate is over, well that raises my bullshit alarm. The reason is that is precisely how con artists operate. They present you with what they say as absolute truth and shout down those who would dare question it. They want to present you with only their reality, because they are indeed full of shit and they don't want that to come out. As such they attack those that question them and try to silence them, because they want to deflect from the questions.

Well, when you act like a con man, that really sets off warning bells for me. Why would you do that? Why would you simply try to shut down those that question you if you are so sure of your position? While it doesn't make you a con to do that, it sure as hell makes me suspicious you are one.

So really, shit like that doesn't help. If you are going to dismiss anyone who is skeptical of your viewpoint out of hand, you accomplish nothing. You won't convert any of them, obviously since you just dismiss them, and you'll make others wonder what it is you are so worried about.

Re:People like you are a large part of the problem (1)

MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248648)

Amen!

Re:People like you are a large part of the problem (4, Insightful)

NoOneInParticular (221808) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248702)

The polarization comes from two sides. You have sketched your problems with the side of the climate scientists that (think they) have found a huge problem and are trying all they can to get something done with that, fighting against any opposing view. As many do, you forget to look at what their opponents are.

The opponent of human-induced climate change is humbling. It is namely the status-quo. (Human induced) climate change is bad news not just for oil companies, but for banks, industry, anything that depends on burning fossil fuels: i.e., the economy. So the fight is between the climate change scientists + their hippie groupies and the economy, all 400 trillion dollars of it.

So, from this perspective, you might be able to infer that opposition has been a bit on the heavy side. Why should we kill our economy for some unproven stuff that some hippie scientists have been providing? That was the tune of the nineties. So nothing happened. Now there is some more proof that actual climate change is occuring, but ha! you cannot prove it was us humans doing it! No this cannot be proven but it's a dishonest cop out.

So it is a set of hippie scientist that are obviously overconcerned with the figures they are measuring versus 400 trillion dollars worth of people 100% concerned with next quarter's financial report, combined with all people that like their way of life as it is know thank-you-very-much.

And you are complaining about the defensiveness of the hippies?

Re:People like you are a large part of the problem (1)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248768)

And people with no sense of humor belong in some other kind of basement.

Re:A question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30248540)

I thought the issue was settled, didn't you get the State Approved Memo ... Comrade?

Re:A question (1)

Mix+Master+Nixon (1018716) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248658)

Where do all the scientists who are skeptics fit in?

A thimble.

Re:A question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30248676)

I know someone who has been on-and-off involved in climate modeling who made an effort to trace the root of the global warming claims back to the science. It mostly ended up in a climate model (one among many) which made one of the most dire predictions. So then he tried to track down what caused that model to make such dire predictions. Though I'm not a scientist myself and did not receive the full explanation, he was quite disappointed (he found the science, and justification for the model being as it was were rather weak). In terms of good science, it comes down to smaller scale tests and ideas of what 'should' happen on a larger scale.. but as climate is a complex beast and we've had plenty of surprises and missed predictions, it would be fair to say the climate science is weak.

Since, he has been less dismissive of theories that suggest that factors in space (ie. outside of are atmosphere... patterns in sun activity, cosmic rays, etc.) are more influential than we recognize, and that this ought to be looked at more closely (because current science is not developed enough to rule it out). He has not personally made this a target of his own research, and it is in part because it would be out of step with his colleagues and he could be branded as someone with ulterior motives and/or a crackpot just for looking into it (not everyone would necessarily feel the same way -- but you've got to remember that these people have personal lives and jobs).

There are some scientists.. I believe scientists investigating astronomical phenomena in northern europe.. perhaps the Netherlands (?) who have been looking into the space factors and comparing patterns to those seen in our weather. They have been viewed by people inside climate science as enemies, and people abetting the ignorant, oil interests, warmongers, etc. This is bad for science. Personally, (I may be a moron for believing this) I think the actions (out of Kyoto protocol) and blunt unfounded statements from the US government in recent years caused some climate scientists to attempt to fight back -- fighting fire with fire -- and it has at times gotten the better of them.

Posting anonymously (since otherwise it would be more possible to figure out who the anonymous scientist is)

Re:A question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30248700)

Where do all the scientists who are skeptics fit in?

All scientists are skeptics. Where there's consensus on the other hand, there's no science going on.

Re:A question (3, Informative)

MrEd (60684) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248824)

Well, of the 54 prominent skeptics [sourcewatch.org] on the record, only eight of them have any relevant scientific qualification: Tim Ball, Robert C Balling, Bill Gray, Richard Lindzen, Patrick Michaels, Garth Paltridge, Roy Spencer and Wolfgang Thune. So I guess they could fit in one New York Yankees box seat.

Uh yeah, whatever... (4, Insightful)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248332)

"...tribalism in science is the main culprit here..."

Funny, the old word used to be 'fraud'.

Re:Uh yeah, whatever... (0, Flamebait)

djmartins (801854) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248504)

"...tribalism in science is the main culprit here..." Funny, the old word used to be 'fraud'. That word is only used against the enemies of World Socialism. We need to stop these scientists and politicians who's goal is to destroy the West through the use of bogus scientific claims.

Re:Uh yeah, whatever... (2, Insightful)

cirby (2599) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248510)

For twenty years, it's been "stop asking questions, the science is settled, you're evil people for questioning our well-established and peer-reviewed science!"

Now, after we find out that much of the experimental and observational basis for Global Warmology is actually a scam, it's "you're still evil for asking all of those questions (even though they turned out to have a good foundation for skepticism, and you were pretty much right about the weak science), but we're now very willing to work with you to find out what the REAL science is. And, by the way, we're still going to want to control the debate, and the peer review is going to be under our control, but feel free to submit any questions you may have to our Web page..."

Re:Uh yeah, whatever... (1)

Orion Blastar (457579) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248724)

Well not to say skepticism doesn't have its uses, but sometimes skepticism can caused a closed mind and impede progress. In this case skepticism against global warming has caused a slow down in research for green energy and green technology as a big part of the population doesn't believe in global warming, and thus doesn't provide funding for more research to combat it.

Skepticism against religion and God and things that science cannot easily prove has also caused a closed minded way of thinking in science that if one cannot see or hear it, it must not exist. So those warp drives we want invented or some other faster than light or at least faster than booster rockets technology isn't going to happen when people don't believe we can go space travel faster, or cut through another dimension, and reject Einstein and Hawking's works because they talk about more than just the 3D universe we can see and hear, and don't believe in time/space that it is the fourth or perhaps as found out recently due to high energy the fourth and fifth dimensions. It is also what holds back the Large Hadron Collider research because skepticism on the Higgs Boson and skepticism that the LHC cannot control the Mini-Black Holes and that eventually one of them will swallow up the Earth and form a large black hole because they rejected Einstein and Hawking's works and don't believe how Hawking Radiation works at the small level in evaporating the Mini-Black Hole into gamma rays before it can swallow anything to get larger. Thus the old "HUR HUR HUR THE LHC IS GOING TO DESTROY THE EARTH!" mentality of the LHC skeptics. Einstein and Hawking's works are rejected because they show evidence of a higher intelligence to design the universe and talk about God existing and stuff, so skeptics reject it, even if the Math is worked out, and the theories are peer reviewed and in use and workable. But people who believe in it, help fund it, because they know it might lead to a new energy source that can be green energy and lead to green technology and maybe even faster than light space travel.

Re:Uh yeah, whatever... (1)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248826)

Now, after we find out that much of the experimental and observational basis for Global Warmology is actually a scam

We did? All I've seen is a single mail about a researcher trying to make older historical data and newer more accurate data collected using different measuring methods fit, and thus had to 'hide the decline' in the gap between those. Is there any other evidence?

Re:Uh yeah, whatever... (-1, Troll)

thrillseeker (518224) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248542)

You forgot the word criminal.

The people no longer deserve the title scientist - they were engaged in a criminal enterprise in creating false reports to justify the investment of others. If this were a publicly traded company, Bernie Madoff would have a new BFF.

Until the media raise holy hell about the criminal fraud, we may as well call it by the more descriptive name of Climaquiddick.

Re:Uh yeah, whatever... (0, Troll)

Rising Ape (1620461) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248788)

What a load of slanderous bollocks. I hope for your sake the people involved aren't of a litigious bent.

Re:Uh yeah, whatever... (1)

six11 (579) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248732)

I don't think she's talking about garden variety fraud. She defines tribalism thusly:

Tribalism is defined here as a strong identity that separates one’s group from members of another group, characterized by strong in-group loyalty and regarding other groups differing from the tribe’s defining characteristics as inferior. In the context of scientific research, tribes differ from groups of colleagues that collaborate and otherwise associate with each other professionally.

Her sense of tribalism is more in tune with the scientific Old Boys' Network that Kuhn warned us about. Scientists are human, and they are subject to social prejudices and bias just like the rest of the species. It's understandable, but that doesn't mean it is something we should tolerate on an ongoing basis. Science is supposed to be ego-free. She's just pointing out there these ego-driven turf wars are not only harmful to the field, but given the topic, also harmful to the world.

Re:Uh yeah, whatever... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30248812)

No, tribalism isn't fraud. It's just being imperfect and human.

Fraud is when you publish something you know is wrong. But, it's not fraud to publish something that might be wrong (a lot of good science happens that way). It's not fraud to publish something in a hurry without thinking carefully (that can happen when funding agencies demand that you publish or perish, and some good science happens that way, also).

Anyhow, that sounded like a real simplistic comment from someone with an axe to grind.

Global warming has a human factor (2, Funny)

Andrew30 (1688304) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248334)

Testimony of Richard C. Levin President, Yale University Committee on the Environment and Public Works April 3, 2008 "The Panel concluded that, in the absence of corrective measures, global temperatures are likely to rise between 1 and 6 degrees centigrade by the end of this century, with the best estimates ranging between 2 and 4 degrees." Actually Richard, your a bit high but very close, but I think it will be about 1.95 degrees (2.6 * 0.75); The human contribution to global warming: valadj=[0.,0.,0.,0.,0.,-0.1,-0.25,-0.3,0.,-0.1,0.3,0.8,1.2,1.7,2.5,2.6,2.6,2.6,2.6,2.6]*0.75 ; fudge factor yearlyadj=interpol(valadj,yrloc,x) densall=densall+yearlyadj

What's the point? (5, Insightful)

yerktoader (413167) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248370)

Both sides are entrenched and doing what is probably irreparable damage to this debate with their quaint little antics. Unless they are replaced we'll continue to have to deal with a public that is either educated by CNN or Fox News.

Re:What's the point? (0)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248462)

I think that most of the problem lies in the fact that the debate has become politicized. One side tends to use the issue of anthropomorphic global warming as a bat to attack capitalism and the other side attempts to pretend that all is well and that there is some massive conspiracy behind AGW. The problem is politics not science.

Re:What's the point? (3, Insightful)

yerktoader (413167) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248482)

Politics is a part of the problem indeed. But when they're hiding their data sets, science is a part of the problem as well. I don't doubt that climate change can be human-affected but for fucks sake it's been decades now.

Re:What's the point? (0, Troll)

thane777 (718626) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248694)

Better to be educated via Fox News or CNN than that climate scare-master algore.

Common Ground? (4, Interesting)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248372)

There very much is a common ground. Truth. Because people disagree doesn't mean that both aren't seeking to know the truth; really, both might have reasonable positions, given everything that individual has experienced and learned to date. Reality will be the ultimate arbitrator which decides who is correct.

There may be people on either side of the debate that aren't interested in the truth... in fact, there clearly are, in both camps. Those aren't scientists, though, and they aren't doing science. They're just people interfering with science. Best to publish all data, and keep discussion reasonable and non-accusatory. The amount of political and activist cruft attaching to the believers and deniers are harming the TRUE cause, which is to find out the truth.

Even the common labels, "believers" and "deniers", are ridiculous; they have more of a place in religious debate.

Re:Common Ground? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30248424)

There very much is a common ground. Truth.

Have you heard anything of the last decade or so in American politics? Truth is no longer a common ground, thanks in large part to the "war is peace" crowd. Not only that, but when a sizable fraction of the voting population believes the planet was created by a pissy invisible man 6000 years ago then there's no use even TALKING to them about 25000 year old ice cores and so forth.

And reality will indeed decide which side is correct; unfortunately, if we wait for that, we'll be pretty fucked if it shows that the "deniers" really were just conservative puppets and oil company shills.

Re:Common Ground? (0, Flamebait)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248558)

And reality will indeed decide which side is correct; unfortunately, if we wait for that, we'll be pretty fucked if it shows that the "deniers" really were just conservative puppets and oil company shills.

We'll be pretty fucked too, if we regulate, cap, retard, and tax energy, technology and our economy due to a threat that may not turn out to be true, fueled by puppets of the socialist left.

See how silly it sounds? I'm not saying that will happen; I'm saying that bastards are manipulating BOTH SIDES, clearly... and framing your argument against the 'deniers' in terms of politics, which you did, does harm to everybody. Whether global warming is happening or not SHOULDN'T be a political issue, and politicians and activists shouldn't be involved, either way. If global warming hadn't been immediately seized upon by politicians to push a political agenda, there wouldn't ever have been an organized political push AGAINST global warming.

Re:Common Ground? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30248678)

Pretending that AGW isn't a political issue, and ignoring the political motivations of both sides, is an idiotic way to approach the situation. Stating that many of the deniers are "conservative puppets and oil company shills" isn't a political opinion, it's an empirically observed FACT.

And here's what I've never understood from the denier side: what's the motivation for making up the story? It's pretty clear why, for example, Big Oil wouldn't want carbon regulation. But WTF is the motivation for the "vast conspiracy" that the deniers believe is opposing them - are they just a bunch of hippies?

Re:Common Ground? (1, Insightful)

NoOneInParticular (221808) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248858)

We'll be pretty fucked too, if we regulate, cap, retard, and tax energy, technology and our economy due to a threat that may not turn out to be true, fueled by puppets of the socialist left.

Well, if you do it smartly, the worst thing that would happen if we regulate, cap, retard and tax energy and our economy is that our economy will be prepared for an energy-sparse world even before oil runs out. Saves maybe a few wars and a couple of life-or-death situations. Yes I know, the free market can solve all without any foresight whatsoever, but maybe, just maybe the free market is a random grab-for-all that will run out of steam the moment that you cannot 'take' energy from the soil anymore?

Re:Common Ground? (5, Insightful)

mad_ian (28771) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248518)

There very much is a common ground. Truth.

To paraphrase Dr. Henry Jones Jr...

Science is the search for FACT, Not Truth. If you want Truth, try the philosophy department.

Re:Common Ground? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30248612)

Even the common labels, "believers" and "deniers", are ridiculous; they have more of a place in religious debate.

Global Warming as Religion and not Science [numberwatch.co.uk]

Re:Common Ground? (0)

Etcetera (14711) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248614)

There very much is a common ground. Truth. Because people disagree doesn't mean that both aren't seeking to know the truth; really, both might have reasonable positions, given everything that individual has experienced and learned to date. Reality will be the ultimate arbitrator which decides who is correct.

Bzzzz. Not if you're a postmodernist... where "truth" doesn't exist and science is only useful as a tool to enact social policy goals. Strangely enough, the postmoderns and the American Left (not Classic Liberals) seem to agree in this regard... :/

Re:Common Ground? (1)

Kohath (38547) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248748)

I share your anachronistic devotion to truth and accuracy and reality. But those things are out of fashion. They've been replaced with hate and greed and envy and the self absorbtion that is called "awareness".

To care about the truth is to fail to fit into modern society. Your "common ground" is very uncommon these days.

Maybe now the debate will actually occur? (3, Insightful)

MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248378)

This way when the debate finally is over, the statements about such can be true.

Of course, this does overshadow the real debate, which is whether or not Governments are the right organizations to correct any issues, which, if we look at similar historic pollution agreements, they have failed miserably.

Re:Maybe now the debate will actually occur? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30248538)

Of course, this does overshadow the real debate, which is whether or not Governments are the right organizations to correct any issues, which, if we look at similar historic pollution agreements, they have failed miserably.

Really? [wikipedia.org]

Overall, the Program's cap and trade program has been immensely successful in achieving its goals. Since the 1990s, SO2 emissions have dropped 40%, and according to the Pacific Research Institute, acid rain levels have dropped 65% since 1976.[32][33]

In 2007, total SO2 emissions were 8.9 million tons, achieving the program's long term goal ahead of the 2010 statutory deadline.[34] In 2008, SO2 emissions dropped even lower--to 7.6 million tons[35].

The EPA estimates that by 2010, the overall costs of complying with the program for businesses and consumers will be $1 billion to $2 billion a year, only one fourth of what was originally predicted.[32]

Oh, that's right. (1)

MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248606)

Wikipedia... [slashdot.org]

Re:Oh, that's right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30248828)

That's a rather lame response. Whatever you may think of Wikipedia, my quote includes references to other sources (although I didn't preserve the links). Neither your original claim nor this weak rebuttal has included a single piece of evidence. You would be much more credible if you provided facts to back up your anti-government stance. In addition, you haven't suggested any other means for dealing with pollution.

Re:Maybe now the debate will actually occur? (0, Troll)

darjen (879890) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248598)

not only that, but governments are pretty much the greatest cause of pollution in society.

Re:Maybe now the debate will actually occur? (2, Interesting)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248600)

Now there is a question that is often glossed over.

I am inclined to think that they are the only ones with the power to do anything. They have set themselves up as the requirers. They set regulations, and everyone else either abides by them or risks punishment. Nobody else can rightly claim that position (lest THEY find themselves on the receiving end of an assload of "justice")

That said, I would like to think that there are other ways, I just wonder if they can happen fast enough or thoroughly enough.

Then again, there are those more powerful than governments. Insurance companies.

What would happen if major insurance companies became so convinced of the need to take action (assuming there is such a need, there is little to discuss hear without the need, so we have to assume it for the purposes of this line of thought) that they simply stopped offering to sign or renew policies without commitment agreements to take measurable action to reduce pollution and carbon footprint?

Few businesses can get very far without insurance of some sort.

Re:Maybe now the debate will actually occur? (1, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248604)

I think you're entirely correct. From what I have seen, most of the denial of AGW is actually resistance to heavy government intervention. Since most of the proposals for dealing with AGW involve significant government economic control, there is a tendency for people to link AGW with big government and act accordingly. If you think about it, someone who is very much against government intervention would likely tend toward scepticism. The problem as I see it is that there is such a great divide between the two political ends of the spectrum that they aren't willing to agree on even the simplist of things let alone anything like AGW.

Re:Maybe now the debate will actually occur? (2, Insightful)

Rising Ape (1620461) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248808)

True, and this is of course a fine example of the Appeal to Consequences [wikipedia.org] fallacy. I like it when that one crops up as I can instantly reject any arguments they make as being most likely poorly thought out.

Extraordinary claims... (4, Insightful)

Airdorn (1094879) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248388)

... require extraordinary evidence. The global-warmists, or climate change proponents need to pony-up some real evidence for all the wild, alarmist claims about doomsday they've been making for the past 20 years... not just anecdotal bunk like misc. ice sleets falling off Antarctica, etc.

Re:Extraordinary claims... (1, Insightful)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248472)

You're confusing Hollywood nonsense with scientific argument. The scientific argument is simple: the Earth will grow warmer in the next century, and as a result sea levels will rise by at least a meter, but probably 4 or so.

Is it anthropogenic? Skeptics have reason to question this. But at the same time, given the massive damage humans have definitely caused to the atmosphere (the depletion of the ozone layer was a real problem that we had to deal with) it seems somewhat disingenuous to claim that humans aren't at least in part responsible for atmospheric trends.

Re:Extraordinary claims... (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248886)

The scientific argument is simple: the Earth will grow warmer in the next century, and as a result sea levels will rise by at least a meter, but probably 4 or so.

Oddly enough, the IPCC report doesn't seem to mention your 1-4 meter sea level rise. It seems to range from 0.1 meters (best case) to 1.0 meter (worst case), with most likely results between 0.2 and 0.7 meters.

Re:Extraordinary claims... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30248496)

How about

"Greenland's ice sheet melted nearly 19 billion tons more than the previous high mark, and the volume of Arctic sea ice at summer's end was half what it was just four years earlier, according to new NASA satellite data obtained by The Associated Press."
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/12/13/tech/main3613698.shtml

Or is that to anecdotal for you?

Re:Extraordinary claims... (1)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248594)

Of course, that raises the question of why a large island covered with an ice sheet was ever called Greenland to begin with. I suppose they were being sarcastic at the time?

Re:Extraordinary claims... (4, Informative)

NoOneInParticular (221808) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248792)

Marketing. Greenland was named such to attract settlers.

Re:Extraordinary claims... (1)

PhreakOfTime (588141) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248816)

The name Greenland comes from Scandinavian settlers. In the Icelandic sagas, it is said that Norwegian-born Erik the Red was exiled from Iceland for murder. He, along with his extended family and thralls, set out in ships to find the land that was rumoured to be to the northwest. After settling there, he named the land Grnland ("Greenland") in the hope that the pleasant name would attract settlers.

Do you think Hell, Michigan is named because its supposed to actually represent hell? Or maybe the real estate pimps of thousands of years ago, are exactly like now, when trailer parks are sometimes named 'Luxury Court'...

Re:Extraordinary claims... (1)

Airdorn (1094879) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248628)

Too anecdotal. There's all kinds of reasons that story may exist, beyond the obvious politically motivated one. Was the data obtained in a controlled, scientific manner? Are we sure about that? I'd just like to see a stronger consensus. As it is today, the whole thing is just way too polarized. I mean, I doubt anyone denies that people (along with any other organisms put into an environment) do have some effect. That's simple action/reaction stuff. I think the argument gets heated when scientists, politicians, Al Gores, etc. showcase humans as the chief cause of widespread destruction. There's an obvious money-trail here and a lot of people smell a skunk. So, yeah.. I need some extraordinary evidence to back up all those extraordinary claims.

Re:Extraordinary claims... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30248686)

just being devil's advocate. If half the ice is gone why hasn't the sea level increased by half a meter. Don't get me wrong it's just the math does not add up to the claims. We have a problem but the exaggeration of cause and effect does nobody any good.The only thing we know is that the carbon levels have increased. What will be the consequence? Global warming, global cooling? Not yet determined and the data is not quite clear. Stop claiming it is. Bring all the data forward so we can understand and correct the problem.

Re:Extraordinary claims... (1)

realcoolguy425 (587426) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248704)

Quite Anecdotal to me. The Antarctic has 90% of the earth's ice anyway. The eastern half of Antarctica is 4x the size of the western half, and is cooling/growing.

It seems climate fear mongers only want to point to both the Arctic and the western Antarctic, where the west is somewhat unstable at the moment. They never seem to take into account the growing ice sheet on the eastern Antarctic, and the fact that it offsets other ice losses. I'm sure in another 30 years that part of the Antarctic may be decreasing, while another large area of ice is forming somewhere else. Normal cycles, should not be made into an international crisis.

Re:Extraordinary claims... (5, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248764)

Quite Anecdotal to me. The Antarctic has 90% of the earth's ice anyway. The eastern half of Antarctica is 4x the size of the western half, and is cooling/growing.

You may want to update the facts that you were trained to regurgitate [time.com] .

Normal cycles, should not be made into an international crisis.

I've never studied climatology or even oceanography but if you're going to make such statements, I hope you have the credentials to back it up and tell me without any doubt what a 'normal cycle' constitutes.

Re:Extraordinary claims... (2, Informative)

blackfrancis75 (911664) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248568)

Here you go. [copenhagendiagnosis.org]

Re:Extraordinary claims... (3, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248640)

... require extraordinary evidence. The global-warmists, or climate change proponents need to pony-up some real evidence for all the wild, alarmist claims about doomsday they've been making for the past 20 years... not just anecdotal bunk like misc. ice sleets falling off Antarctica, etc.

I agree with your subject statement but I disagree with that very last part. Apparently the West antarctic ice sheet was the part with "ice sheets falling off it" while the East side remained relatively stable. That's recently changed [time.com] . I don't think this proves anything but I admit it's alarming to me that we might just be sitting on our hands while Antarctica breaks apart. Hell, we're already opening up shipping lanes through the north pole [nationalgeographic.com] . It's true, I am just another internet moron but I would really prefer we don't have to find out what results from Antarctica breaking apart or melting. At this point, I'm open to suggestions and theories ... although for any of them to be unquestionably valid, I refer to your first statement.

No one seemed to refute our decision to stop using CFCs. We all seemed to agree as a planet that they were bad. And so on and so forth you can look back historically at man negatively altering his environment to varying degrees. I think more than sufficient evidence has been provided to prove that we need to get a better grip on what emissions and carbon proliferation mean for the Earth and -- most importantly -- us. I'm a small government kind of guy but if that means more government funding being dumped into unbiased investigations than so be it. I don't want Earth to end up like Easter Island.

Re:Extraordinary claims... (1)

fischerville (1458275) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248836)

Personally, i can see an upside to all this... I can't wait to go for a dive in Lake Vostok

Scientists are not Politicians (4, Insightful)

Rollgunner (630808) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248398)

It is the job of scientists to observe impartially, test, and provide us with facts and data.

It is up to the politicians to use (or misuse) those facts and data.

But once the scientist sees himself as a politician, it is far too easy for ego and self-interest to blind them to what they should be observing, instead of what they wish to observe.

Re:Scientists are not Politicians (4, Insightful)

roguetrick (1147853) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248706)

Scientists have always been egotistical, with their own pet theories and human idiosyncrasies. The saving grace of science has never been the scientists, but the method in which science is conducted. Peer review, vigorous debate, and cat-fights. What we believe scientists should be and what scientists are are two very different things. The problem here is the outside influences. You and me.

Re:Scientists are not Politicians (1)

kipling (24579) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248820)

What a strange point of view to find on Slashdot.

Applying this "argument" to software, no-one who bangs out code would care how it was used, and therefore how it was licensed. It would not be in their domain of interest.

Scientists are not one homogeneous group. There will be differing views on facets of the science and differing willingness to engage with the political debate, media, etc.

Re:Scientists are not Politicians (4, Insightful)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248882)

Bullocks. One of the main failures of modern science is that it tries to stay out of politics, leaving people who do not know anything about the science to make the important decisions.

"Curry — .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30248422)

umm, curry. AFK, food.

The downside of trying to help the environment is? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30248444)

Is what ?
Being more efficient ?
Where is the downside of improving efficiency of devices and ourselves ?
Whatever happens to the climate, the resources we currently use are limited.

Re:The downside of trying to help the environment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30248480)

No one is really against a better environment, however many people are against the lies on what the real problems are and lies about how some new taxes will magically make everything better.

Climate Change is real. (-1, Troll)

Daswolfen (1277224) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248450)

Man made Climate change is a political tool to further the agenda of the greens. That large flaming ball of gas at the center of our solar system has more impact on the Earths climate than man does.

Its been hotter than now, its been colder than now. Life goes on.

Their time is up (0, Troll)

trickyD1ck (1313117) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248500)

I find the comments to the newest piece of gore's intellectual diarrhea (http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/1b1067b2-dacd-11de-933d-00144feabdc0.html) indicative of the public opinion on him ang his AGW scam cronies following the climategate. Too bad, so many of you guys here are entrenched in the leftist agenda because of FSF ideology.

Engaging with whom exactly? (2, Insightful)

openfrog (897716) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248520)

"Engaging with skeptics" is an approach that I find improvised and naive at best.

First on the list of naivete is accepting their self-description as skeptics without any second-thought. They are anything but skeptics. They are out to destroy the legitimacy of climate scientists in public opinion and they use all the dirty tricks in the book toward that objective. Their self-description as skeptics and their talking points have been carefully laid out by PR firms working for powerful vested interests.

Theirs is a concerted strategy to influence public opinion and the last salvo with this "hacking" thing happens just before the Copenhagen summit. She does not even question the legitimacy of those emails.

Engaging with the public and with legitimate political representatives is what climate scientists must do. "Skeptics" doing disinformation should be exposed, not engaged with.

Re:Engaging with whom exactly? (2, Insightful)

Kythe (4779) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248618)

Unfortunately, I find myself agreeing with much of this (depressing as it is). It's awful hard to find "common ground" with people who aren't interested in science; rather, they're interested in doing and saying whatever their mentally-ill talking heads tell them is the best way to screw with liberals.

That was a pretty genius stroke by energy companies, enlisting one half of the two political poles as allies. It basically ensured the entire debate couldn't take place on scientific grounds. And it's done a vast disservice to those who really DO question the science from a scientific standpoint, as well. How do you present a creditable case when the guys next to you are babbling some nonsense conspiracy theory about socialism?

Re:Engaging with whom exactly? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30248794)

I've worked on projects related to climate science, but never really held a view as to whether these is or isn't global warming (bugger all I can do about it either way). But when I hear slimy arguments like yours I'm tempted into becoming a skeptic or denier or whatever the insult of the day is.

No (4, Interesting)

Selfbain (624722) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248566)

I have to go with the way Dawkins approaches this type of situation. Giving them a seat at the table gives them credibility.

Re:No (0)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248626)

Notice Dawkins doesn't seem willing to apply the same test to his views, despite the reality that he is asking us to *believe* him?

Try harder, please.

Re:No (5, Insightful)

winwar (114053) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248736)

"Notice Dawkins doesn't seem willing to apply the same test to his views, despite the reality that he is asking us to *believe* him?"

Sorry, you lose. Dawkins provides EVIDENCE, he does not require belief. True skeptics will discard a belief when presented with better evidence. Most people who call themselves skeptics aren't-they search for information that fits with their beliefs. In short, skepticism requires rational, logical and reasonable thought.

It's the blind men and the elephant (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30248570)

Cherry picking data is like the blind men and the elephant, in a sense you see what you want to see. You have to step back to see the elephant. There was a debate for decades about climate cooling or getting warmer. There is supposed to be a cooling trend but the problem is instead it appears to be warming. Let's say the data is suspect due to cherry picking, how do we know which is right? It's hard to deny Arctic melting as much as some are trying to deny it. Also people used to judge weather by animal patterns. We forgot how to read them but it worked well. Look at the animal patterns. Explosions of giant jellyfish off Japan and other areas. Numerous red tides including northern areas where they used to be rare. Starfish invading the Bering Straits where they used to be rare. A number of tropical species have been appearing in the UK and the north east coast of the US. It's happened before but it used to be rare and now it's getting commonplace. In Alaska the permafrost is melting deeper than anyone has ever seen before and worldwide the glaciers are melting fast and there are hundreds of photos to prove it. Assuming all the data is suspect there's still a lot of evidence of a sudden drastic change because much of this observational data has happened in the last ten years and it's consistent worldwide. A natural cycle? Why are we assuming that a volcano that spews billions of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere can affect weather but us doing the same every year has no affect? You might as well say that pouring water into a rain barrel can't make it overflow only rain can make a rain barrel over flow we can't do it. It makes as much sense. A change is happening the only real questions are how much and how fast.

No way... (1)

pdboddy (620164) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248576)

I'm not sure if it's possible for the two sides to have a logical, non-handwavey-gloom-and-doom conversation.

When the hack became public and "climate-gate" was unfolding, people were asking on RealClimate.org (one of the sites involved somehow with climategate) for explanations about the numbers and just what the scientists and researchers were discussing when they were talking about tricks in correlating various datum. In the first 250 comments or so, no one brought said anything about global warming/climate change not being real or if it was caused by humans or not. People just wanted to know what the heck the numbers meant and what the various acronyms were.

Yet those folks were called deniers. That we didn't "get" it, and never would. These comments weren't from site admins or the scientists involved however.

With the predictable responses from the other side.

Maybe the scientists and researchers on both sides can have a reasoned debate, but for John Q. Public, I guess we've been fed so much "doom-and-gloom" or "it's-all-nonsense" that the yelling and finger-pointing are in full tilt before the cooler heads have even opened their mouths.

Microcosm of the discussion (1)

liquiddark (719647) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248584)

All you have to do is read the replies to this article to understand why engaging in serious discussion isn't really feasible. Exaggerated claims of falsification and completely tangential theories about motives seem to be the order of the day.

Do your research before you get conned by Al Gore (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30248610)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Global_Warming_Swindle

Eric Raymond's take on this (5, Insightful)

TheCodeFoundry (246594) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248636)

Interestingly, ESR has gotten in on the discussion and is a little more damning in his condemnation of the entire Climategate ordeal

http://rebootcongress.blogspot.com/2009/11/eric-s-raymond-on-east-anglia-crus.html [blogspot.com]

There is only one way to cut through all of the conflicting claims and agendas about the CRU's research: open-source it all. Publish the primary data sets, publish the programs used to interpret them and create graphs like the well-known global-temperature "hockey stick", publish everything. Let the code and the data speak for itself; let the facts trump speculation and interpretation.

We know, from experience with software, that secrecy is the enemy of quality -- that software bugs, like cockroaches, shun light and flourish in darkness. So, too. with mistakes in the interpretation of scientific data; neither deliberate fraud nor inadvertent error can long survive the skeptical scrutiny of millions. The same remedy we have found in the open-source community applies - unsurprisingly, since we learned it from science in the first place. Abolish the secrecy, let in the sunlight.

this isn't just about beliefs (2, Insightful)

abarrieris5eV (1659265) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248646)

If this were any other scientific theory this wouldn't be happening. Politicians are in on this, politically deciding which evidence is valid and which is not, on both sides of the issue. The "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" isn't even strictly necessary most of the time. If this were string theory I wouldn't care. The problem is that this is being used to advocate drastic changes in public policy. Policies Al Gore supports would end factory farming and dramatically drive up energy prices. The only possible outcome of this is an immediate and severe increase in the price of food, and famine in much of the undeveloped world. It would lead to millions perhaps billions of deaths over the next several decades. If you're asking me to standby and let our politicians kill millions through famine, because the alternative is even more devastating destruction, you better have some evidence that: A) Your doomsday scenario is fairly certain B) the policy changes you suggest will definitely prevent it. While the evidence for A is getting slightly more convincing, all the evidence seems to be against B. When DDT was banned millions died of malaria, I don't want my generation being responsible for another such well meaning, naive, indirect mass murder.

Burden of proof (0)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248654)

Seems like the burden of proof should fall on the polluters and not the environmentalists. I find it hard to believe a bunch of people who are arguing for greater efficiency and less waste need to be put on the defensive. But that's politics as usual, I suppose.

How many people can the environment comfortably sustain? We all need resources as input, and have waste products as output... should we reward people for using less, or penalize people for using much more than others?

But really, the only way to find out for sure is to stress the system until it breaks.

It would be nice to preemptively address the problem before we destroy our livelihood, but politically the naysayers will always whine about not getting the resources they're entitled to - it's in their best interests. So just like every pollution problem we've had in the past, we won't really get legislative action until something bad happens and people die. We just have to hope it won't be as catastrophic. Maybe at best we could convince polluters to be responsible to pay into a fund to fix future damages... so they kinda get a short term reward for subjecting us to risk.

I feel like the current fixation on CO2 emissions is kind of silly... it's a good simplification to help focus our efforts on sustainable energy sources as opposed to burning fossil fuels, but the AGW crowd has attacked that simplification, instilling a fair dose of FUD.

Anyway, the optimist in me hopes the US / China / etc. can sort of get in line with some of the other cultures (Japanese, German) who just approach things like recycling and increased efficiency as a no-brainer... why even argue? But the pessimist in me is investing in real estate in Alaska :P

Actually this is about *policy*, not science (5, Insightful)

west (39918) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248660)

Unfortunately, while we'd all feel better if science was going to determine the policy outcome, I think we're all aware here that the truth about global warming is only a secondary factor in the success or failure of enacting policy to prevent it.

This is true for both sides, and *both* sides know it. Simply put, the issue is way too important to be left to mere science.

AGW is only a secondary issue to many of the non-scientists in the game. The pro-AGW crowd has many people who would like to see Western society's materialistic, high-energy-use lifestyle forcibly curbed, and AGW provides a convenient club.

Likewise, many of the anti-AGW would be willing to sacrifice hundreds of millions of poor people in geographically challenged areas if the only alternative was strict curbs on their lifestyle, but would prefer not to have to actually say it. So they'd deny the science rather than admit the underlying sentiment.

I strongly suspect that among the voters, there's only a small minority for whom the science is the principal factor in determining the preferred policy.

Proof? For all those who hold a strong opinion on AGW in one direction or the other, ask yourself this. What proof would it take for you to accept that the opposite position was actually the correct one? Exactly.

Risk / reward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30248722)

To look at the subject from a risk/reward point of view. If we do nothing and the global warming proponents are wrong, life goes on like normal. If we do nothing and the global warming proponents are right, millions of people die.

hold on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30248800)

you need to look at the science and I think many of you put on some blinders and consider yourself educated in the matter bucause you watched Gore's film.

Before you buy into this, consider the what you are really getting on board with. There are many issues that do not reconcile.

For instance, every farmer knows the level of c02 is barely sustainable. This is why greenhouses must augment with c02 injection. The higher the temp, the more c02 needed. This is a fact that can be proven and replicated. Low co2 harms plants.

AGW trys to tell you something different. They say, c02 is harmful. You can reduce heat by lowering c02 and plants will flourish. Try replicating this in a lab. Im telling you now, it will fail and the plants will suffer.

The science they promote is flawed. c02 has zero impact on heat. AGW cant be substantiated. Its made up. Try it for yourself.

Oftentimes, simply no... (5, Insightful)

MoellerPlesset2 (1419023) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248840)

Being a scientist but not of the climate variety, I've got to say 'No'.
In a lot of cases, if not most, dialogue on the merits of your scientific work is simply impossible with a layperson.

I work with this stuff. Every day. 40 (well more like 50-60) hours a week. It took years of study for me (and everyone else)
just to get to the level where you can properly understand what it is, exactly, that I do. That's what being an expert at something entails.
Now when I get into a dispute with someone, they typically have the same level of expertise. They know more or less everything I do. I know what they're saying, and they usually know what I'm saying.

Now you bring into that situation some layperson with their religious reasons or ideological reasons or crank personality, who wants to dispute the results of my work. So they pore over it, and they simply don't understand it. (And ignorance breeds arrogance more often than humility, as Lincoln said) But they think they do. And then they formulate their criticism. Even if that criticism makes sense (often not), it's typically wrong at the most basic level. And that will practically always be the case - because there's virtually *nothing* in the way of criticism that a beginner would be able to think of that an expert hadn't thought about already. You're just not going to find a professor of physics having made a mistake of forgetting the first law of thermodynamics.

Now I'm happy to defend my science against legitimate, good, criticism. But a scientific debate is *NOT* where anybody should be TEACHING anybody science. What kind of 'debate' is it if every answer amounts to "That's not what that word means, read a damn textbook." It's not the scientists who are being arrogant then. Hell, since when didn't scientists bend over backwards to educate the public? We write textbooks, and popular-scientific accounts. Research gets published in journals for everyone to see, etc. It's not like we're keeping it a big secret - The problem is that some people are simply unwilling to learn, yet arrogant enough to believe they should be entitled to 'debate' with me, and that I should be personally burdened with educating them in the name of 'open debate'!

(Just to pick one out of the climate bag. How often haven't you seen someone say "Yeah but climate change is cyclical!" - What? As if _climate scientists_ didn't know that?! Refuting someone's research with arguments from an introductory textbook)

The fact that these climate-skeptics were prepared to take these e-mails, pore over them for some choice quotes (which didn't even look incriminating to me out of context), blatantly misinterpret them without making any kind of good-faith effort to understand the context or the science behind it, and trumpet it all out as some kind of 'disproval' of global warming (which wouldn't have been the case even if they were right), just goes to show that they're simply not interested in either learning the science, or engaging in a real debate. And it's in itself pseudo-scientific behavior in action: Decide there's a big conspiracy of fraud behind climate change, and go look for evidence to support your theory, and ignore all other explanations.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...