Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Excellent summary of the Global Warming debate

Goober has a long, detailed introduction to the debate that is a great starting point for your friends who have open minds on the subject.  Here's his introduction:
We humans are a funny lot.  We like to think that we’ve evolved beyond the animals around us – and in large part, we have.  However, it never ceases to amuse me how we can all be so quick to fall back into tribalist mindsets and start flinging poo at each other over things in which we disagree.  It is even funnier when you consider that half the time, we are arguing past each other, and aren't even bothering to understand what the guy we're arguing with is actually trying to say.. 
One of the more polarized poo-flinging contests of late has been the debate over global warming.  This one, too, causes me to laugh quite often.  These are the 5 reasons that we will never be able to have a constructive discussion about global warming.
I actually think that this post is free of the tribal bias that he posits (correctly) as the major impediment to conversation.  Like I said, I think that you can give this to any of your friends who are open minded and they will read it through.

I'd suggest that two more issues need to be raised, both of which are tribal.

#6.  Much of the science is astonishing hackery.  "Hide the decline" is only the tip of the ice berg - the entire "Hockey Stick" graph set the (ahem) gold standard for the rewards to be had by scientists willing to flog junk.  Indeed, the impetus of the skeptic push back grew entirely from this sense of "that can't be right - good Lord, that isn't right" that to this day permeates the scientific establishment.  You can argue whether all the grant funding for "Global Warming Research" is driving this or not, but the plain fact of the matter is that much of the "consensus" view has been shown to be not just junk, but trivially shown to be junk.

#7.  It's not science, it's religion.  Most people are not scientists, but are happy to get the blessing of scientists that their policy preferences are "scientific".  People who think that we should use less fossil fuels will simply not want to listen to what the state of the actual science is.  They're glad to listen when it reinforces their worldview, but will have no interest when it challenges that view.  And here is Goober's point drawn most sharply.

When the subject of gun control comes up my response has lately been that I'm not opposed to gun control, just to stupid and useless gun control.  That either ends the topic or leads to an actual discussion, as I challenge people to explain why a, say, Assault Weapons Ban isn't stupid and useless.  Socratic Method FTW.

Maybe I need to come up with something similar for global warming, along the line of not discussing science with people who don't have the slightest idea what the science actually says but who are thoroughly convinced that it means that their liberal prejudices are all dressed up in white lab coats.

But you know how nasty I am.  Nasty enough to point out what's going on during the WARMEST YEAR EVER!!!!
A major winter snowstorm is snarling flights and trains across Europe, creating chaos for thousands of travelers today (March 12).

Frankfurt, Europe's third-busiest hub, halted all flights around noon local time (around 7 a.m. ET) after heavy snow continued overnight from Monday into today, according to German news broadcaster Deutsche Welle.
Paris is canceling flights, too, and a business colleague is stuck at the company's Paris office.  Global Warming True Believers™ will sniff about the difference between weather and climate, and then run off like Chicken Little the next hot summer's day.  Like I said, liberal prejudices dressed up in white lab coats.


ProudHillbilly said...

And Europe was hammered by winter last year - brutal cold.

Goober said...


I agree with your added bullet points. In fact, I considered two points that were almost exactly like them, but I was struggling a bit with how to include them and still try to sound like I was sitting astride the debate instead of firmly entrenched on one side or the other. I’ve found that a sense of neutrality in one’s writing can help to get people to listen to you who otherwise may have ignored you. It is more measured and reasonable to me, even though I do throw out my occasional rant, and it is very cathartic (see my post in response to your golden rice rant the other day for an example).

I did try to run it up the flagpole that the consensus crowd was struggling a bit with the science with the passage that reads as follows:

“The consensus doesn’t want to discuss the fact that the skeptics might have a valid point about the warming being natural, because there really is very little science that has been (or even can be) done to show what is causing the warming, leaving them in a more difficult to defend position.”

As to the religion thing, I decided to leave it out because it is exactly the point that I was trying to make – what human condition is more tribal than religion?

Thanks for the link. I’ve been trying to get my blog back up and running for about three months, now. It’s been fun. Didn’t realize how much I missed it.

One thing that I am going to try is to make an attempt to put more articles up that are list-format with a bit of humor in them, like this one. I realized that some of the most easy-to-digest reading that I do is when I’m reading Cracked.com, and it is because of the humorous captions and list-based format. It makes a difficult subject infinitely more digestible, and can make a boring subject funny and fun. I think it may get people to read things that they would have ignored otherwise. Hell, what can it hurt?