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For anyone wondering

Global Warming

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‘Climategate’ scientists cleared. Again.

Imagine that.

An independent report released Wednesday into the leaked “Climategate” e-mails found no evidence to question the “rigor and honesty” of scientists involved.

The scandal fueled skepticism about the case for global warming just weeks before world leaders met to agree a global deal on climate change at a United Nations conference in Copenhagen last December.

The seven-month review, led by Muir Russell, found scientists at the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) did not unduly influence reports detailing the scale of the threat of global warming produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

“We went through this very carefully and we concluded that these behaviors did not damage our judgment of the integrity, the honesty, the rigor with which they had operated as scientists,” Russell said.

Some scientists were dinks towards public requests for information, however. Weird that FOX Noise has been leading with that point, huh? It’s almost like conservative ideology is more concerned with short term big business vitality than science.

Lying about climate change to sell papers

“Climategate” was a load of hooey that featured a bunch of denialists twisting scientific research, fact, and even phrasing in order to push a pro-business agenda. Those who actually thought a few emails that weren’t written for the laymen proved anything about the mounds and mounds and mounds of data supporting anthropomorphic climate change were either being dishonest or getting hoodwinked. Unfortunately, it’s going to stay that way for awhile for a lot of people – even though newspapers are retracting their lies.

In perhaps the biggest backpedaling, The Sunday Times of London, which led the media pack in charging that IPCC reports were full of egregious (and probably intentional) errors, retracted its central claim—namely, that the IPCC statement that up to 40 percent of the Amazonian rainforest could be vulnerable to climate change was “unsubstantiated.” The Times also admitted that it had totally twisted the remarks of one forest expert to make it sound as if he agreed that the IPCC had screwed up, when he said no such thing.

Crazy that.

Because it’s worth repeating

A creationist in one of the comment sections recently repeated this old canard.

the dictionary says (among other things) that a theory is:
1. contemplation or speculation.
2. guess or conjecture.

there i go? again?
you just seem pretty intent on disparaging arguments but not refuting them.

This is yet another point where atheists and other non-deluded people are willing to be honest, all the while watching creationists do just the opposite. It’s like it’s just so damn inconvenient to come to a straight-forward, truthful understanding of basic concepts for the religious that lying has become okay for them; the ends justify the means.

So it is worthwhile to repeat, for the nth time, just what a theory is and is not.

Insofar as my theory that ice cream is great can be considered a theory, yes, creationism is a theory. But it is not in any way a scientific theory. The requirements to reach this high level are rigorous. For starters, what predictions does creationism make? What experiments can be carried out to falsify the hypothesis? Can others repeat these experiments? Are there other plausible explanations? Are there better explanations?

The word “theory”, as any educated, honest person knows, carries far more weight in science than it does for the lay public. In truth, the word gets mixed up in casual talk within science, even sometimes becoming conflated with “hypothesis”, but no one really blinks because the context allows for the use of shorthand. Think to Richard Dawkins’ style of writing. He uses personification all the time, especially when discussing natural selection. He will start out with qualifiers and scare quotes – “Natural selection ‘wants’ to weed out the bad genes” – but as he goes on, the reader comes to an understanding of the fact that the good doctor is bringing evolutionary biology to life via a particular way of writing. It becomes obvious that it is inappropriate to apply anthropomorphic qualities to what Dawkins is describing – and it is context that allows for this.

But in public forums or political circles, there can be no assumed knowledge of science and what its terms mean; it is a danger to allow for the use of loose language without qualification. That is why it is so important to distinguish between the lay definition of “theory” versus its scientific definition. In science it references something which has evidence, has been tested, has journal papers all about it, and usually there is a high degree of consensus. The Big Bang, evolution, global warming, plate tectonics – these are all theories. Creationists have no theories. They have no evidence, no reason, no logic, no testing, no raw data, no way to interpret any sort of observation in a way that holds any scientific significance.

Climatic facts

Oh, gee, weird. It turns out Phil Jones’ data wasn’t made up and the world is still warming directly due to human activity.

The House of Commons’ Science and Technology Committee said they had seen no evidence to support charges that the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit or its director, Phil Jones, had tampered with data or perverted the peer review process to exaggerate the threat of global warming — two of the most serious criticisms levied against the climatologist and his colleagues.

One [email] that attracted particular media attention was Jones’ reference to a “trick” that could be used to “hide the decline” of temperatures.

“Hide the decline” was not an attempt to conceal data but was scientific shorthand for discarding erroneous data, the committee concluded. Similarly, Jones intended “trick” to mean a neat way of handling evidence, rather than anything underhanded, the inquiry found.

I found this part to be the most frustrating. The term “trick” was explained over and over to people, but with such little success. The reason, of course, is 1) the intense desire conservatives have to allow corporations to pollute more and more and 2) the general hostility conservatives have towards science. Methinks they would be appalled to read an average scientific paper. “What?! They adjusted for sample size difference?! IT’S FAAAAAKE!”

Catching Conservapedia in a lie again

From their lying front page:

Another new paper was just published in Journal of Climate. Added proof Al Gore & Company are simply lying hucksters, out for a buck. Written by eminent climatologists, called Greenland Ice Sheet Surface Air Temperature Variability: 1840–2007 which discusses data from Greenland since 1840. No unprecedented recent warming is found. For example, they find that the 1919-1932 warming was 1.33 times greater than the 1994-2007 “warming”. [19] The new report mirrors one from the United States Senate back in 2007. [20]

Just like the last time, they make the mistake of linking to the abstract they reference.

Thus, it is expected that the ice sheet melt rates and mass deficit will continue to grow in the early twenty-first century as Greenland’s climate catches up with the Northern Hemisphere warming trend and the Arctic climate warms according to global climate model predictions.

These people are kooks.

Abusing science

Conservapedia is back to abusing science. This is from their “news” section.

The study, which was published on July 14, 2009 in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Geoscience, found CO2 was not to blame for a major ancient global warming period and instead found “unknown processes accounted for much of warming in the ancient hot spell.” The press release for the study was headlined: “Global warming: Our best guess is likely wrong.”

“In a nutshell, theoretical models cannot explain what we observe in the geological record,” said oceanographer Gerald Dickens, a co-author of the study and professor of Earth science at Rice University. “There appears to be something fundamentally wrong with the way temperature and carbon are linked in climate models.”

The mistake Conservapedia made is so readily linking to the abstract.

We conclude that in addition to direct CO2 forcing, other processes and/or feedbacks that are hitherto unknown must have caused a substantial portion of the warming during the Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum. Once these processes have been identified, their potential effect on future climate change needs to be taken into account.

While the idiots over at Dumbopedia (good one, right?) are claiming that this study PROVES!!! that global warming is not man-made (thus implying that any polluting business practice is a-okay), the study is saying no such thing. This is referencing a period of warming where CO2 alone does not account for all the warming. That isn’t to say that the rise in CO2 can be dismissed during that time – nor is it saying anything about our time. It’d be like saying natural selection doesn’t account for all the change in evolution, therefore evolution is false. CO2 still was a huge factor by which warming was initiated (upwards of 38 degrees F). Today it remains a huge factor.

Let’s just say it. Conservatives are not concerned about science. They care about allowing businesses to practice as they please. That’s it.