(Updated and expanded, 7-26-15)
SUNDAY (July 5) Georgia Tech School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Professors and repeat congressional climate “expert” Judith Curry published a piece on her highly influential climate skeptic blog, castigating the editor of Science for publishing an editorial on climate change calling for action. And ultimately, Curry used it to castigate Science, and scientists in general.
The first half of this piece covers the themes relevant to the strange fact that Congress favorite Curry harshly castigated the editor of a science journal – for writing an editorial she didn’t agree with – before going on to use effectively manipulative and inflammatory rhetoric and insinuation to impugn science journals, and almost all of science (except, naturally, climate change “skeptics”) for the piece, and even climate scientists for simply having a “scientific consensus” on climate change in the first place.
This consensus – man’s activity is relevantly impacting our long term climate – is something Curry can’t seem to show is wrong but wants to believe is wrong or “too uncertain” to address (so using far right wing pundit and Rush Limbaugh fill in Mark Steyn to attack one particular climate scientist, then cherry pick statements to pile on, is right up Curry’s alley), and so like almost all climate change skepticism, is something Curry attacks as somehow “quashing debate” when it’s nothing of the sort:
It is, on the other hand, simply saying to Curry “your position is wrong, here’s why, and the overwhelming majority of climate scientists know/believe this.”
If either of those two facts are incorrect, then science demands they be so illustrated. But the self reinforcing pattern of skepticism, and Curry, don’t do that.
The pattern instead uses rhetoric to attack the idea of a consensus; and here, editor Marcia McNutt, a leading science magazine itself, and science in general, for simply referencing the idea of a consensus in editorializing that debating whether to act – in lieu of acting – is improvident, and there should be no such debate. (As opposed to the very real debate regarding how to most sensibly and fairly act.)
This pattern is not unusual for Curry, who has an excellent, if today increasingly common, inflammatory ability, that is used to some extent or another in nearly every post written on the Climate, Etc. website, to directly hint at things without technically making direct accusations, or using others lifted and carefully cherry picked language, under the guise of “analysis” to do so.
S0 – though Curry’s piece castigating McNutt, the journal Science, and science in general, might have been edited and “softened” since (I really don’t know) – she can talk of the “descent into science hell,” and of science ultimately condeming and literally punishing all people who “dare” to disagree with its ideological proclamations, while never quite directly accusing McNutt, Science, or science in general, of it, etc. That is, rhetoric in its highest form being propagated as science and analysis.
And if there is a concern over the doctrine of conventional thought (there always is even in free societies), by her (today extremely common) reality turned inside out but appearing oh so reasonable rhetoric approach, Curry does far more to foment any long term potential problem, than bring conscionable awareness to the general issue.
This, in sort of the same way that climate change “skeptics” – by impugning everything possible – cause those concerned with climate change to become increasingly dismissive; even convinced that such “skeptical” belief (that somehow we’re not relevantly impacting our climate) is all motivated by “lies, deception, and greed,” when it’s largely motivated by fears of dictorial redress. (Which in another irony, by stalling sensible action through misinformation for so long, only increases the chances of ultimate improvident and potentially over reactive knee jerk government mandate rather than the reasoned, sensible, balanced, choice respecting while market shifting we should have been workingm on, and put into place years ago.)
And motivated by the huge economic presumption that changing to better energy sources and agricultural practices is some sort of huge impediment to real growth, rather than part of it. And likely or often motivated by ideological fealty to a sort of business anarchy; motivated by a strong fealty to traditional energy practices and in particular fossil fuels, as some sort of intrinsic human right above even tempering use for higher external infringement of our and perhaps our progeny’s even more basic rights to air, water and non radically altered climate; and driven largely by self reinforcing belief.
The second part of this piece is a more direct response to this frequent Congress climate change expert testifier’s assertions, and inherent but basic and severe misassessment of what climate change even is; and which Congress, if interested in understanding climate change better, would, as representative of the people of the country that elected it, be better informed by also similarly considering.
Remember Curry is not only the Chair of an Atmospheric Department at a major University, she is again an “expert” and frequent testifier to the (admittedly far right wing when it comes to basic issues of environmental externalities) U.S. Congress; has been a member of several influential boards; and her blog provides great guidance to the less rabid (but still rabid enough) climate skeptic crowd, including many who are reasonably well educated and articulate, and help propagate the misinformation that helps create the enormous gap between what nearly every practicing climate scientist says (though there are exceptions), and the general population, where in the U.S. a recent poll found that only an astoundingly low 45% of all U.S. adults would acknowledge or agree that man caused climate change is real. (A few respondents very likely were not being forthright, but viewed the issue in an extremely lukewarm manner; and thus missing what the issue fundamentally is, don’t subscribe to any notion of sensibly redressing it and wanted to bolster the “it’s not real” idea.)
What’s interesting is that Curry didn’t always hold such lopsided views as she does now. And even — though it’s hard to separate out being a contrarian for its own sake and being beguiled by rhetoric that sounds great but misconstrues the issue from trying to think on one’s own and serve as a valid check on groupthink — made some arguably valid points: including my very own favorite – be careful of groupthink.
But being careful to not simply follow a thought because it is a prevailing popularity or convential view isn’t an argument as to why something is wrong. Nor is it relevant to the purely geophysical assessment issue of climate change itself, which Curry – even back in 2010 from when that last Scientific American link was taken – has gotten fundamentally wrong. (And which has only been reinforced by the self selection nature of our Internet and world today, and a U.S. Congress that overall reflects the electorate that elected it.)
Also worth mentioning is that while some groupthink likely occurs with respect to climate change support, at least it’s a deference to the overwhelming consensus of the relevant experts on a subject. And, it’s in a profession where caution in conclusion is necessarily heavily built in – something Curry also completely misses; yet which is evidenced, by among many other things, an overly conservative IPCC that makes too big of a deal out of models and the issue misconstruing fictional “pause” in Global Warming.
It’s even more built in on climate change, because it was not an issue that had to be answered one way or another as are most – and the ones where mistakes despite strong consensus are most often made – but one that spontaneously if slowly arose from long term observation and study and that went against the normal presumption that we couldn’t much inadvertently affect our planet. (Making the skeptic claim of being akin to “Galileo” even more ironic, if that was even possible.)
When you don’t know, deferring to experts is the sensible thing. Even more so on a topic or issue where experts didn’t have to even have an opinion in the first place, and let alone one that would cause the appearance of upheaval to many people, in how we viewed several traditional habits.
Skeptics though have a way of refuting this fairly significant and essentially overwhelmingly lopsided consensus also (even though a remarkably small percentage of actual climate scientists seem to be among those so refuting it), by simply repeatedly claiming otherwise, by their go to move – cherry picking extensively – and by writing rhetoric filled pieces such as this same piece by Curry, and other far more fantastic tricks.
And skeptics, like Curry, have a broader way of dismissing that as they do of everything: Namely, again, if it’s not hard data where cherry picks abound, then, rhetoric. Here, climate scientists are part of “groupthink.” (And, as we’ll see, according to Curry, far worse extensions of it). Nice, huh? Broad ideas that can sometimes apply and sometimes be completely opposite or completely irrelevant but can always be made to sound good (and self convince), can become sort of a catch all. Get good at it and you can believe whatever you want, really believe it, and convince others of it.
Meanwhile, between all this, on and on ad infinitum, and those concerned about climate change merely telling everyone it’s a problem, and sort of not believing that other people don’t think or see it that way – blaming oil company “lies” and finding ways to not look at the reality of what polls are actually saying about the perceptions of hundreds of millions of people in the United States alone – the basic construction of the issue itself has sort of gotten lost for 20 years.
On the other hand, when and if you know why experts are wrong — and although it tends to be more the exception rather than the rule when the consensus is overwhelming, not to mention conservative and slowly arrived at, and people who know all the experts are wrong and why tend to be far fewer than people that think that they do — stating so is the better course than simply deferring. But using rhetoric about “Galileo,” and how “science has been wrong before,” and all sorts of semantics and broad based maxims that can be selectively used to paint nearly any picture one wants (and something which Curry’s blog is absolutely brilliant at doing), is very different, and, meaningless, although it sounds good.
Something similar to groupthink also runs rampant with climate change skepticism; a sort of solidarity of those who are – as they see it, and unlike climate scientists – doing “real science.” (If of a remarkably cherry picked nature to try and reinforce the pre-desired or determined notion that we aren’t significantly impacting long term climate, though of course that minor little difference isn’t so realized): And going against the fraudulent machinery of “government grants for research.” (Since climate scientists get paid, or paid by grants, their work is not valid, etc. – an open ended type of “logic” that could be similarly used to bastardize any discovery, statement or action of man or woman kind ever undertaken that one wants to denounce, right down to a selfish Mother Teresa who selfishly wanted to “feel so good about herself doing all those good deeds,” and be applauded, etc.)
Curry, without realizing it, has become a part, and in fact, key support leader, offering the rare patina of some actually relevant climate related science discipline expertise, to the party.
Also interesting is that Curry makes a big deal out of the “uncertainty monster,” as she puts it, as if simply moving to sensible non polluting fuels and agricultural practices wasn’t a smart thing to do anyway, but some sort of calamity, whose enormous sacrifice should only be undertaken if climate change is otherwise going to be some sort of catastrophe. (See paragraph numbered 28 below)
But more telling is the lopsided, almost backward application of the idea. First of all there is almost negligible uncertainty on the low side. (See below for why this is the case, as well as here.) While the uncertainty monster is almost unlimited on the upside:
As both metaphor and literally, consider sea level rise, projections of which as it turns out were low, as we have discovered that models greatly underestimated the extent, and even acceleration, of melt on both polar caps. (It’s not just that they are melting, which is significant enough, it’s that the melt has accelerated, and somewhat substantially, this century alone.)
So we might have a meter rise over 85 years, etc. The low side – although it’s extremely unlikely for many reasons – is we don’t get that meter rise, and save one and a half feet!
The upside is change accelerates, methane clathrate permafrost melt release accelerates and self reinforces on its ricocheting path to a lower earth albedo and lower frozen embedded carbon stases, and possibly even ocean circulation change, ocean heat energy upwelling or increased water vapor saturation from warming skies and positive average ongoing thermal re radiation feedback merge, and thus fairly fascinating (albeit, from our perspective, very bad) climatic shifts occur, and we get twenty three feet, with change accelerating from there – and a whole big range in between.
You see the difference between the upside uncertainty monster, and the downside, right? This essentially applies for most of the climate change phenomenon.
On top of that, though of far less importance, the downside uncertainty monster is barely even a reality, given the basic nature of what the issue is, and which Curry, as summarized in the notes below, repeatedly misconstrues.
The IPCC also only uses things it thinks are very likely, which badly skews overall risk range assessments even more. This is because all risks are relevant, just less so depending on how unlikely, and more so depending on how severe, hence the uncertainty monster again, and again with little low side and almost unlimited high side in both instances..
Leaving out these more complex, difficult, wider range, and more uncertain risks and risk ranges because we can’t get a decent handle on how to assess them does not mean they aren’t real, and relevant. But it does mean the overall perception left from the formulated IPCC assessment implicitly low balls the real risk range or its EV or expected value, and only further exaggerates the already large upside (or bad) uncertainty monster.
Curry has somehow flipped all of this completely around – from the IPCC’s own conservative, limited, low side “we think based on right now this is likely to happen” with little on the low side but almost unlimited on the high side projections, as well as all the higher but less concrete or non model ready risks left out – and instead used it to mean “we can’t know exactly what will happen, and can’t know a specific prediction with hundred percent certainty, so therefore none of it is very relevant. (She even essentially testified to this effect before Congress earlier this year.) Which gets the entire issue, and its basic analytical assessment in terms of the true risks (and upsides, if any) presented, backward.
I don’t mean this as an aspersion, but Curry is a phenomenal writer (whereas I am terrible at it, and struggle for hours with what should take minutes, often on top of that making something even worse through the editing process); brilliant in her use of words and phrasing, almost able to create magic, illusion, out of thin air. (Many people driven by belief are.) While when it comes to concepts, and as illustrated above, she doesn’t seem to grasp them, or grasp the relevant ones, or why they are, or on this issue is being blocked from doing so. Unfortunately this is more the norm rather than the exception when it comes to great rhetoric and semantics, housed under the guise of logic. And perhaps what drives it in perpetuation of a self reinforcing belief, as the response to Curry’s borderline if not somewhat brilliant libeling of McNutt below, illustrates.
Response to Judy Curry and her piece staunchly appearing to attack or greatly impugn science, climate scientists, and Science Magazine and it’s editor Marcia McNutt for editorializing that there is no real debate among those who predominantly and professionally study this issue from the relevant science discipline(s) as to whether or not “man caused climate change” is real.
And even though McNutt’s statement, on top of everything else, also happens to essentially be true.
Dear Judy Curry,
You make a remarkable number of presumptions in your piece , and in the process engage in far more of what you spend considerable semantic brilliance pinning onto science, and Science magazine itself.
I believe the basic debate is a false one. Marcia McNutt, editor of Science, believes it is a false one (we differ apparently in that it has been a false debate for 20 or so years), and the overwhelming percentage of climate scientists believe that it is.
If you believe that consensus is wrong, show it. Instead you take the expression of the fact (or even, from your perspective, the “belief” in that fact) as somehow quashing debate. And, as your piece rolls onward in increasingly strong waves of rhetoric and general science community castigation and pigeon holing, much worse, because of the fact McNutt is editor of Science. But putting rules on Science editorials seems more problematic than the editorial expression of views that editorials represent.
Also, even though McNutt has the right to be wrong, is the consensus not real? Round up all the practicing climate scientists who do not agree.
I highly doubt you could even get the widely touted 3%. And if we left out hard core ideologues (which doesn’t tend to mix too well with the pursuit of science) like Roy Spencer or Willie Soon, it would be even lower.
That is a Roy Spencer who wrote a paper that was so poor (among other things, it ignored all prevailing science without even referencing it or explaining why it didn’t apply) the editor of the Journal that printed it resigned to “take responsibility” for a paper with “fundamental methodological errors or false claims.”
And who in said paper, with no basis (or even explanation) whatsoever decided to reverse cause and effect and made the ever changing, ephemeral phenomenon of water vapor the cause of climate change itself, rather than of course a result or part of climate. As if anything that an alteration of the climate created was then looked at as the driver of climate, resulting in a nonsensical tautology that could then be used to dispute all universal cause and effect by simply labeling an effect as a cause.
Aside from the false claims that led the editor of the otherwise non climate related Journal Remote Sensing (an off topic Journal where Spencer targeted to get his surreptitious issue manipulation slipped in under the radar), do you wonder what led him to that wacky and illogical conclusion, one that is unsupported by any science?
Here’s a hint: This is the same Roy Spencer who in a significant conflict of interest has publicly acknowledged he sees his job as a scientist not to simply pursue the physical objective truth which is science itself, but as a protector of the taxpayer from government rules:
“I would wager that my job has helped save our economy from the economic ravages of out-of-control environmental extremism.” (link)
His job? Or zeal to reinforce the pre-determined notion that climate change is no big deal so that environmental regulations or other forms of redress – a wholly separate matter from the science of the issue itself – are unlikely to occur, and thus seek specifically to find results consistent with achieving that end and at direct odds with what the basic process of science is, let alone one funded by a public university. (But then Spencer is on the advisory board of a religious sect organization that doesn’t believe in the concept of environmental impact from man when it comes to climate change, which again is at direct odds with the study of it, and would make his job not one of scientist studying the issue, but advocate using science to try and conform the results to the desire end. Which is of course just what we saw in the highly flawed paper that led the editor who had approved it, to resign after so fundamental a mistake.}
Then there’s this, all but acknowledging his role as just described above:
[Spencer views himself, in his words] “Like a legislator, supported by the taxpayer, to protect the interests of the taxpayer and to minimize the role of government.” (link)
Or Soon, who was the climate scientist author of a paper that actually posited and relied upon the geophysically ludicrous notion that all climate effects of any energy change are essentially immediate, and that contradicts the basic skeptic argument that climate change is not real because “climate changes” so easily when it was here convenient to argue the very opposite, as well as numerous other fundamental errors, and who has been largely funded by the fossil fuel industry.
And so on it goes. Refute McNutt by showing that a higher than trivial percentage of climate scientists don’t agree, or by showing that even if that’s not the case, they’re wrong. Not by engaging in highly inflammatory rhetoric accusing one of the world’s leading science magazines of quashing science for publishing an editorial by it’s editor stating both an opinion, and one which tends to be supported by the relevant facts, at that.
It’s probably not intentional, but this piece that instead castigates McNutt, Science, and science, badly (or brilliantly, depending on how one looks at it) manipulates the issue; and it also rests on a lot of misconstructions regarding climate change itself.
These are misconstructions which also seem to reinforce your notions. And to perpetuate those notions and impugn prevailing science which therefore “must also be wrong,” things that disagree, dismiss your arguments as wrong, state an opinion, expresses frustration (you and other skeptics of course however are allowed, by any suggestively demonizing rhetoric you like) – are thus – at least according to the logic of the piece – of course “quashing debate” and maybe ultimately worse, your piece strongly hints. Make skeptics out to be false martyrs, speaking a truth being kept from the public’s ear (despite the almost unbelievably ironic reality of nearly the complete opposite) by an anti science climate hoax fraud or rampant mistake perpetuating world science community that refuses to hear these great theories showing why all the corroborating signs of otherwise bizarrely coincidental ongoing heat energy accumulation are otherwise irrelevant, and the basic theory of major increased long term chemical atmospheric thermal energy absorption and re radiation leading to an overall increase in earth’s net energy balance and an attendant, if somewhat unpredictable, volatile and likely non linear change or even shift in our long term climate, are simply wrong.
But no matter how outrageous the things you imply, no matter how many things you substantively get wrong about the issue, no matter how often you impugn science or specific climate scientists or others? Or the near mountain of aspersions, insinuations and insults of the many skeptics you rely upon and support?
That’s of course all fine.
Other “skeptics” — who often say outrageous things, and even propagate false scandals such as the two year soap opera near joke called climategate – that nevertheless radically re-shaped public perception of scientists – or the latest “data tampering” where the “scandal of the century“ left out that 1)re-calibration is normal and in fact often required, not the fraud that it was fraudulently presented as, 2)NOAA re-calibrated both up and down, not the fraud and outright lie or zealot blindness it was presented as, and – though irrelevant but incredible nonetheless – 3) had NOAA not total surface air warming would likely appear greater, not lower — all of that??
That, of course, is never quashing debate, or improper. That’s all for a good cause! But the cause of mitigating our ongoing radical long term chemical alteration of the atmosphere? Why that is ideological. And “quashing debate.”
In a nutshell: “We need to address this” is ideological and quashing debate. “We need to not address it but wait,” because it’s going to wreck our economy (see paragraph 28 below) and it’s not really a big deal and the market – complete business anarchy not capitalism with sensible policies for externalities – solves everything (even retroactively so people who died from needless pollution come back to life), that of course is not ideological, and not quashing debate.
And this is so, even though by not addressing it, we don’t just put of correcting it, by the nature of the problem (let alone it’s large lag) it’s greatly amplifying it and increasing the essentially irreversible aspects of it.
And where ideology does enter in, in terms of addressing this purely geophysical issue, heaven forbid we address that on the policy and response side. But let’s just impugn all climate change concern and climate scientists and climate science, instead.
All while we engage in the “real” science of coming up with our still completely missing theory of why a multi-million year shift in earth’s long term insulation wouldn’t significantly impact climate. And despite the continuing accumulation of long term corroborating data, that of course we also instead attack, to cling to our simply made up theory, and as part of our impugning and even sometimes villainizing of climate science also so necessary for clinging to our made up theory that we know to be “reason” and “logic,” and “science.”
Thus quashing debate is any expression you don’t agree with and don’t like, that can be manipulated with rhetoric (and then, worse, self believed), to make it sound so.
And if something can’t be made to seem to fit into that category, it will be made to fit into another one. McNutt’s, apparently, because she said the “debate is over,” which is about as meaningful as saying “almost all climate scientists who study this issue know that our actions are altering earth’s long term climate, and there’s really nothing supporting the opposite” — again, according to the logic of your piece, which then even goes further with its castigation of the appeal to authority, ideological imposition and ultimate punishment of non conformists, taking key concepts and absolutely wrecking them nearly beyond all repair through hysterical projectionism and rhetorical manipulation — of course does.
Repeat: “Almost all climate scientists who study this issue know that our actions are altering earth’s long term climate, and there’s really nothing supporting the opposite” in a science magazine editorial is now the quashing of views and a march toward required orthodoxy of thought and intolerance of disparate opinions and theses.
On this logic, pretty much any conclusion can be created out of anything. It’s rhetoric, run amok, since while the points are valid in the abstract, applied here they are frighteningly backward. And that, is what climate change skepticism, is.
Here’s the initial response that goes into more detail regarding this Curry piece, that, like many of them, fans the flames of anti-science (unless it’s her science and the “science” of people that support her so called skeptical views) and anti-climate scientist and anti-Science Magazine, as well as of the specious and often extremely one sided “scientists want to ‘quash views’ and ultimately maybe even ‘punish’ people who disagree” vigor.
The rest of the initial response to Curry’s piece, which essentially was drafted as a comment so it starts off poorly, but makes some key points, is again, here. The following are key portions that also complement what’s written above:
4. Just because you want to or have convinced yourself you believe something and others say there is a consensus (right or wrong) that contradicts it, is not stifling debate. But the claim asserting otherwise, let alone in the inflammatory and greatly science impugning manner in which it is often written and found here, is also part of the wordsmithing, rhetorical, semantic if unrecognized “game playing” that goes on to play every card possible, even many imagined ones, to reinforce and perpetuate the same old notions.
5. Regarding those notions, it’s somewhat of a stretch to borderline nonsensical to think a multi million year increase in earth’s long term chemical atmospheric energy recapture wouldn’t ultimately significantly impact earth, and the overall trailing data and signs of effect (not just air temperature but the total picture) corroborates almost inescapable common sense on the issue even further. (Though even that is misrepresented and cherry picked apart by “skeptics” and this site, and such sense escapes.)
6. There is also no evidence to support such a notion: Aside from basic issue miscontruction, unrecognized broad brush and irrelevant philosophical semantics, or scientific tautology, there isn’t a single cohesive or rational theory why such a multi million year and ongoing long term atmospheric energy recapture shift wouldn’t ultimately significantly impact earth or, to hone it down further, present a relevant risk range of moderate (if highly unlikely), to severe alteration
………You can guess otherwise, but you are basically saying that because she wrote what you think is a bad editorial Science is likely now jaded against actual relevant science in its papers. That’s a big leap, and a little spurious.
14. But what you do is far more, and it’s something you’re extremely good at. You twist all of this into something that it’s not; and in the process demolish any decent points to temper the way the challenge of climate change is communicated (indeed your hostility toward it and support of such hostility prompts such editorials, born of frustration, as McNutt’s), in the process.
15. You give credit to a highly hyperbolic, borderline libel, “Digging into Clay” and highly manipulative graphic – the irony of this being stated by a skeptic in reference to climate scientists rather than numerous leading skeptics is somewhat remarkable, but par for the course – and then come up with one that is even more misleading yourself: For it uses semantics again to twist what is really happening, and fit it into your own extreme formulation (for which your minions here and in our half anti science Congress are so grateful and look to you for guidance that you might never realize that despite some good work you’re egregiously, fundamentally wrong on this issue, and thus “let them down”), to continue to cling to heavily one sided beliefs and perceptions on this issue.
To wit, here’s what you suggest as Science and science’s plausible direction, fitting your own self-reinforcing formulation on climate change where dismissing disparaging or disagreeing with climate scientists is debate and all A okay. But where dismissing disparaging or disagreeing with climate change skeptics on the other hand is not, but is instead very different. (Also conveniently ignoring how some of your more hard core cohorts, and sometimes yourself through implication, call climate change redress a “threat to the world” and worse.):
“Appeal to authority
Absence of doubt
Intolerance of debate
Desire to convince others of the ideological ‘truth’
Willingness to punish those that don’t concur”
………19. You are using the “authority is not always right” canard to get around the relevant facts in instances where leading experts (in an overwhelming consensus despite your rhetoric and misrepresentation on that as well) are essentially right, when you don’t want to accept or understand why, or are clinging to things to render yourself incapable of seeing it.
20. There is plenty of doubt. The doubt is different from the mistakes, misrepresentations, and circular logic raised and used by skeptics, however, and involves the ongoing process of learning more and more fine detail about this issue and its accumulating effects and correcting, adjusting, learning process of science. You conflate the two because you don’t see these mistakes, misrepresentations and circular logic, as they support your “view.” (One which, to boot, “just happens” to be right in this instance and most climate scientists “wrong,” at least according to your logic. Which would be fine if your reasons why they were wrong didn’t themselves represent a cherry picking, semantic rhetoric, and basic issue misconstruing approach.)
And this leads to the third: “Intolerance of debate.” Skeptics can say anything they want, even (as leading magazine NRO did) call Michael Mann the science equivalent of child molestor (remarkable zealotry to even fathom by the way) over the largely manufactured climategate “scandal.” (One which nevertheless followed the same pattern of using the very processes of science itself – learning, adjustments, corrections, mistakes – to refute climate change, or impugn the credibility of climates scientists and science in general.)
Yet pointing out the errors of skeptics, and or disagreeing, or even using rhetoric back, is suddenly being “intolerant of debate.”
22. It reminds one of Fox news – ironic since I understand you are not a big fan? – which alleges nearly anything it wants, then when anything is shown that disagrees or shows mistakes or takes a different perspective that is unflattering to Fox, it’s “quashing debate”: Debate suddenly meaning “support me, and don’t say things I don’t want to hear.” Yet not only don’t those rules, but no rules whatsoever apply to things “we say,” because “that’s different.”
………28. Your 4th alleged sin was the desire to convince others of an ideological truth. Is that not what skeptics are doing on something which is not ideological, but science, or pure geophysical assessment and logic?
As well as doing on all of the underlying “ideas” driving most skepticism, such as the enormous (if not hysterical) presumption that producing the “good” of less pollution, ending reliance on foreign oil, and mitigation of long term geologically radical atmospheric alteration is somehow itself not of real value, unlike all the silly things we DO do that contribute to GDP, and even though the production of alternative energy and agricultural processes and practices is itself as valid a component of GDP, growth and jobs as anything else.
32. The irony is to the extent this becomes more ideological on the skeptic side (to perpetuate the belief pretty much regardless of what points are made and even ongoing accumulation of corroborating data rolls in, the very things skeptics worry about only increase in likelihood – stupid rules out of panic at some point in the future due to terribly misinformed, ideological and semantic game playing “assessment” earlier, as well as more and more dismissiveness of skeptics as people who “know full well they are wrong but are lying because they are selfish” (assessments I don’t generally agree with). Which in turn only further self seals in the tautological circle of logic and perception that, to cling to skepticism, is created and being perpetuated here in the name of ‘debate.’ But which is far from it.
33. It’s misinformation, it’s issue miscontruction, it’s demonizing, it’s castigation, its excessive rhetoric and semantic cherry picking, all because the “belief” that simply stopping dirty polluting fuels and using clean ones, etc., is some sort of bad thing, and thus that the main issue prompting it (aside from the pollution aspect) – so called “climate change” or the far more accurate “radical long term atmospheric alteration” therefore isn’t real, that big of a deal, or is fundamentally unclear. And thus refuse to see what is, and use every trick in the book (again, here’s a classic but typical one), to continue to believe what one has already been “convinced” of or wants to believe, as a way to avoid the real debate – and what should be being focused on: What does this risk range really present, and what are the best possible, most pro employment opportunity, choice, low mandate approaches to our need to collectively tackle this simple yet fairly gargantuan thing we’ve a bit improvidently done; namely, radically change the long term nature of the atmosphere (that we’re still massively adding to), through processes we’ve become a bit habituated to but that for the most part don’t make a lot of sense.
34. But skeptics think that these things “do make sense,” don’t want to “give them up” (even when totally market oriented such as through a C tax and minor regulation so through choice better mechanisms become more beneficial and shift our economy to a more sensible direction), and so therefore convince themselves that the otherwise completely unrelated geophysical reality, isn’t what almost every single climate scientist studying this (itself again misrepresented) says, the total picture of ongoing earth system changes strongly corroborates, and common sense suggests.
And rational discussion becomes lost. Often, under the believed guise of it.