Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Winging On Kyle

Finally, Wingfield gives me something to work with!

Of course, it would be a denial of global warming.
The latest sign that the “consensus” about global warming is falling apart: The BBC is finally reporting that global temperatures have leveled off since 1998, and that there maybe, possibly, perhaps, conceivably, theoretically, hypothetically, probably-not-but-you-never-know, could be explanations for changes in temperature that don’t involve mankind and carbon dioxide.
Welcome to the right's favorite stalking horse. The tactic goes a little like this - you can't trust the press/science because they have an agenda, therefore you must trust us, because unlike them, we only care about the truth.

It works so well with the press because arguably the press does have an agenda (that agenda, however, does not match the conservative mythos, but let's set that aside for the moment). But when it's applied to science, it becomes a little nutty. These "conservatives" would have you believe that the overwhelming majority of scientists are jury rigging (thereby essentially destroying) their life's work in order to implement some sinister world-wide socio-economic plan.

The consensus is nowhere near falling apart. Yes, there has been some data recently which indicates we could be in for a decade or two long cooling period. Just as we were from the late 40s to the early 70s. Does that mean we were wrong about anthropogenic global warming? Absolutely not.

Let me provide you with a part of the article, Kyle would like you to ignore.

In addition, say Met Office scientists, temperatures have never increased in a straight line, and there will always be periods of slower warming, or even temporary cooling...What is crucial, they say, is the long-term trend in global temperatures. And that, according to the Met office data, is clearly up.

Global warming (and indeed science itself) is not based on individual pieces of evidence. It is always based on the story all the evidence tells. Scientists look at everything and they usually look at it over a long time. Pundits, on the other hand cherry pick what is convenient, spin up a tale of fancy, then move on to the next target.

If we're picking between pundits and scientists on truth-telling, I believe I'll stick with the boys and girls in the pocket protected white lab coats.


Rusty said...

Based on the evidence Kyle presented in his most recent column, there appears to be a long-term trend of him being a shitty writer.

MTHEORY said...

So when the climate models that were supposed to correlate a global temperature rise with CO2 emission fail to predict 10+ years of global cooling, we’re supposed to accept those models anyway (and continue to assign causality to man-made CO2) because some of the people who still tell us so are wearing white coats? I know you’ve been itching to lay into Wingfield, but you missed on this one.

He didn’t deny global warming. He commented on the difference of opinion -each based on research- between two schools of thought in the scientific community; noted that there is less consensus now than there was 10 years ago; gave an example, and welcomed a rational debate.

Why is this a left/right issue, anyway? You and John McCain may continue to believe that the ‘science is settled’ on anthropogenic global warming (just as it was ‘settled’ on the earth being flat or at the center of the universe) but those of us in the reasonable community will continue to keep an open mind.

griftdrift said...

Because in science you don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Is the current cooling trend unexpected? Maybe. However it has happened before and climate scientists look at long term trends and the long term trend still correlates man's activity with the rise in the global temperature.

Just because you get one unexpected result, you don't throw out the entire theory. You do try to see where this new evidence fits in the theory and yes, they may ultimately lead you to the conclusion that the theory is unsound.

We aren't at that point yet. And to say the consensus is falling apart is complete hyperbole.

MTHEORY said...

Damn, that was the toughest and smallest 'maybe' I ever got out of you.

griftdrift said...

Because science is always about maybe! ;)

Two points.

First, I've never received a satisfactory answer to the question of would a scientist destroy their entire life's work because they are part of a cabal intent on restructuring the entire world's economic model (and it is a frequent implication).

Second, even if I were a global warming denier, it would bother me that the same tactics are being used to attack climate change which have been used to attack evolution for decades.

Amber Rhea said...

You and John McCain may continue to believe that the ‘science is settled’ on anthropogenic global warming (just as it was ‘settled’ on the earth being flat or at the center of the universe)

I think the difference there was that those were assumptions, rather than theories people had actively tried to study and disprove. Everyone just assumed the earth was flat, they didn't need proof.

Tim said...

As always, love it Grift!