8/26/2007

Global Warming-Another View

Someone in the comments pointed me to this piece (thanks!) and it's worth reading:

Whatever happened to liberals?

One thing I have learned by writing columns on global warming the past two weeks is that liberals are less interested in free expression of ideas than in total compliance with their ideas, less interested in critical thinking than in being critical, and less interested in the truth than in their truth.

It wasn’t always so.

In fact, considering that I was raised as a good Democrat and a proud liberal, it pains me to have to admit such distaste for the current state of liberalism. But how can I remain silent when so many people tell me that they agree with my ideas, but are afraid to speak up for themselves because of the names they will be called? How can I remain silent when I have a position of power to defend myself, and I know that young people in colleges across this nation are afraid to turn in papers that contradict the liberal social agenda of their professors? How can I remain silent when there is so much at stake?Week after week, I endeavor to write columns which raise questions and propose answers.

Week after week I am told by my liberal friends that my questions are foolish and my answers are stupid. Yet I wait in vain for anyone to read my last two columns on global warming and show me where I went wrong. What I hear instead is that “all” the climate scientists in the world agree that global warming is man-made and ruinous, with the implication left hanging or spoken aloud that I am supposed to shut up, get in line and do what I am told.

Sorry, but I don’t work that way.

What I believe in is looking at the evidence for myself, weighing it with the scales of logic and reason, and then making up my own mind. I have been studying the evidence on global warming for more than two years, and for all the reasons already listed the past two weeks I am convinced that this is a manufactured crisis.

Telling me that “all” the climate scientists in the world disagree with me doesn’t counter my argument; rather, it demonstrates that my opponent is willing to fabricate evidence. Many, many scientists disagree with the hypothesis that human industry has accelerated global warming to a dangerous level. To claim otherwise does not make it so.

The other argument repeatedly used by global warming advocates to belittle their opponents is to say that their case is supported by “peer-reviewed” research. That’s fine, but many opponents of the Global Warming Movement have also published in “peer-reviewed” journals. Besides, peer review does not ensure that the conclusions of an article are correct — merely that the author followed accepted principles of the scientific method in striving to prove a significant hypothesis. It should also be noted that when a vast majority of scientists concur with a theory, peer review may easily turn into peer pressure. Thus peer review could be a form of peer-imposed censorship as alternative viewpoints are marginalized or denied publication.

It is certainly a form of elitism — basically limiting discussion of serious ideas to a few thousand degreed academicians. Well, sorry, but I spent eight years in college and graduate school, and I don’t buy the idea that universities are the fount of all knowledge. A good idea is just as good whether it came from the barbershop or the “Journal for the Preservation of Self-Important Professorships.” Indeed, the marketplace of ideas is of no value whatsoever unless it is an open market.

12 comments:

Allan said...

Funny, isn't it, how folks who advocate stripping professional certifications from co-workers who don't tow the political line, who compare people who disagree with them to holocaust deniers, and who complain that those who discover problems with global warming math are "court jesters" glibly claim that they're the open-minded ones?!

Anonymous said...

Walter Williams has a great piece on Deadly Environmentalists (bold is for my emphasis.)

"Despite evidence that, properly used, DDT is neither harmful to humans nor animals, environmental extremists fight for a continued ban. This has led to millions of illnesses and deaths from malaria, especially in Africa. After WWII, DDT saved millions upon millions of lives in India, Southeast Asia and South America. In some cases, malaria deaths fell to near zero. With bans on DDT, malaria deaths and illnesses have skyrocketed.

Environmental extremists see DDT in a different light. Alexander King, co-founder of the Club of Rome, said, "In Guyana, within almost two years, it had almost eliminated malaria, but at the same time, the birth rate had doubled. So my chief quarrel with DDT in hindsight is that it greatly added to the population problem." Jeff Hoffman, environmental attorney, wrote on grist.org, "Malaria was actually a natural population control, and DDT has caused a massive population explosion in some places where it has eradicated malaria. More fundamentally, why should humans get priority over other forms of life? . . . I don't see any respect for mosquitos in these posts." Berlau's book cites many other examples of contempt for human life by environmentalists and how they've made politicians their useful idiots."

"....environmental extremists have the ears of politicians....."

Anonymous said...

Rush Limbaugh suggests:

The name of that book and the author about where the libs of today started their journey to their current madness, is "Camelot and the Cultural Revolution." It's by James Piereson, and he's a good guy.

Not that it matters, but every one of us asks, "How in the world did these liberals become this?" In so many things, be it life, be it victory for the country and national security, how in the world do they become this? How do they become so mad all the time? What is it like to be these people, to get up enraged, go to bed enraged, spend the whole day enraged? Well, he tries to explain it in the book, and he traces it to the assassination of the martyred JFK. It's fascinating.

Anonymous said...

[A good idea is just as good whether it came from the barbershop or the “Journal for the Preservation of Self-Important Professorships.”]

The measure of a good idea is how well it corresponds to reality as revealed by evidence. Typically ideas from barbershops lack supporting evidence. Sure, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but they are not entitled to their own facts. That is why peer reviewed research is important, since arguments must be supported by the same facts and evidence available to everyone else. That's what makes it science and not opinion. (As an example, none of the assertions made in the Daily Interlake article is supported. Not one.)

As for the issue of "peer-imposed censorship as alternative viewpoints are marginalized or denied publication," science is a conservative process. Theories are developed slowly and they are often abandoned slowly. However, science is designed to self-correct when evidence makes previous theories untenable (something opinions rarely do). Scientists attempt to fit new data into existing theoretical models, but when too much data fails to fit the theory, the theory is dropped in favor of a new one that explains all the existing data.

Although there is some debate over the details, atmospheric and climate scientists worldwide have reached a consensus. The Earth's temperatures are warming and man is the cause. A meta-analysis of 928 papers published in refereed scientific journals between 1993 and 2003, reveals not a single one disagreed with this consensus. ( http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A26065-2004Dec25.html) There are virtually no respectable scientists (other than those in the employ of industry) who take issue with the consensus. On the other hand, there are many different forecasts based upon this consensus, so there is some debate there.

(Note: A meta-analysis of barbershop arguments was not available at the time of publication. )

So excuse me if I have more faith in thousands of scientists than someone who has spend two years studying the subject.

GeeGuy said...

That's not true, anonymous. Virtually all respectable scientists (other than those who are beholden to environmental groups or who look to interest groups for or to support funding) take issue with the false notion of a consensus.

Anonymous said...

You say, "Virtually all respectable scientists (other than those who are beholden to environmental groups or who look to interest groups for or to support funding) take issue with the false notion of a consensus."

Prove it. Let's see your evidence.

GeeGuy said...

You say: "There are virtually no respectable scientists (other than those in the employ of industry) who take issue with the consensus."

Prove it. Let's see your evidence.

Anonymous said...

I already gave my evidence:

A meta-analysis of 928 papers published in refereed scientific journals between 1993 and 2003, reveals not a single one disagreed with this consensus.
( http://www.washingtonpost.com/
wp-dyn/articles/A26065-2004Dec25.html )

There's my evidence. Where's yours?

GeeGuy said...

A newspaper article by a left-wing, alarmist history professor is hardly evidence.

Plus, the meta analysis you refer to has been debunked numerous times.

Wulfgar said...

GeeGuy, I've seen the Wapo article 'fisked', but I've yet to see it debunked. Trusting that you know the difference, and that I may just not have seem the empirical critique, do you have any links to such 'debunking'?

Anonymous said...

While the following link comes from a partisan source -- as does the other information offered by others here -- it does provide some striking information. Looks like the jury is still out on this consensus business.

http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Minority.Blogs&ContentRecord_id=b35c36a3-802a-23ad-46ec-6880767e7966

Smokey said...

" I have been studying the evidence on global warming for more than two years,..."

Sorry, but this statement is unbelievable, since none of the actual evidence suggests the conclusion below. This person has been studying rhetoric, as revealed by the deceptions below.

"... Telling me that “all” the climate scientists in the world disagree with me doesn’t counter my argument; rather, it demonstrates that my opponent is willing to fabricate evidence."

No, but the fact that all the DATA does not support your position. Rhetoric is not evidence.

"Many, many scientists disagree with the hypothesis that human industry has accelerated global warming to a dangerous level."

But do they publish any DATA that disagree with the hypothesis? Appeals to authority are always fallacious in scientific matters. Only appeals to evidence are scientific.

"...The other argument repeatedly used by global warming advocates to belittle their opponents is to say that their case is supported by “peer-reviewed” research."

"That’s fine, but many opponents of the Global Warming Movement have also published in “peer-reviewed” journals."

This is where the author is simply being dishonest. None of the opponents of global warming have published any DATA relevant to global warming in peer-reviewed journals.

The author is dishonestly equivocating between data and people.

"Besides, peer review does not ensure that the conclusions of an article are correct — merely that the author followed accepted principles of the scientific method in striving to prove a significant hypothesis."

Yes, and the fact that none of these GW opponents publish any data tells you that citing their opinions as though they trump actual data is dishonest.