Climate change Peer review

Why wasn’t that polar bear scientist a full-time Darwinist writing about human evolution? He’d be way safer.

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Marita Noon comments on drowning polar bears” scientist queried story here (“Climate Change Alarmist Alarmed They’re Wrong,” Townhall, July 31, 2011):

The scientist who reported on dying polar bears gave the global warming movement its mascot—even though he wasn’t studying polar bears. His study was on whales. He saw dead polar bears. While working on the whales, he made some observations based on anecdotal evidence—not science. Monnett’s report is filled with words like: speculate, suggest, may, presume, apparent, almost, and could. The basic conclusion found in his polar bear mortality paper is that the dead polar bears were the result of high waves during a storm.

Why wasn’t the guy a full-time Darwinist writing about human evolution? He’d be way safer. We still don’t know if the investigation relates to that paper, but here’s a possibility about the bears that might be worth considering:

Bear swimming underwater


Years ago, during the “population doom” (one of many secular apocalypses UD News staff have somehow survived), a story went the rounds that overpopulated Arctic lemmings committed mass suicide by rushing into the ocean. Any biologist worthy the name knew, of course, that that was nonsense. The lemmings migrate when food supplies are low, but they don’t know how wide the body of water they are trying to cross is. Hence, mass drownings when they guess wrong. Perhaps that’s what happened to the bears. In general, bears are strong swimmers but they don’t have superpowers, and drowning could be a very minor cause of bear mortality in any given year.

On the last page of the report, he states: “Although a number of published papers have discussed implications of climate change on polar bears, to date, mortality due to swimming has not been identified as an associated risk.” Despite the statement that the “poster-child” of global warming propaganda isn’t drowning due to climate change, and regardless of the fact that there have not been increasing reports of downing polar bears (other than those mistakenly killed by the researchers), alarmists embraced the polar bear as the icon—making it into the star of An Inconvenient Truth.

The thing is, you can always find an apocalypse if you look hard enough.

13 Replies to “Why wasn’t that polar bear scientist a full-time Darwinist writing about human evolution? He’d be way safer.

  1. 1
    lamarck says:

    News, you’re putting other people’s stuff on the back pages with so many articles. I can’t even remember which one I wanted to comment on because it’s already gone so I don’t bother.

  2. 2
    News says:

    Use the search box top right. Most authors are taking the long weekend off, so skeleton news service remains.

  3. 3
    Mung says:

    I understand that News brings more traffic to the site. So I’m going to complain less about the number of articles. 🙂

  4. 4
    lamarck says:

    I like your articles, I’m just talking about the overall speed of the website nowadays. Things used to stay on the front page for a few days and I personally liked that better.

  5. 5
    woodford says:

    I think I brought this up before…maybe if this site had a discussion forum section, then some of the blog articles which generate a lot of good discussion could exist there instead. I think the blog format has really outgrown itself and is no longer the best medium for a community-oriented site, particularly with multiple authors.

    Sure, one can use the search button, but I think once an article disappears to the next page if that doesn’t stop the discussion dead, it certainly will cause it to drop off quite a bit. And it’s in these discussions that we often learn the most.

  6. 6
    Elizabeth Liddle says:

    Well, one of my motivations for starting this:

    was so that extended conversations that tend at the moment get lost could continue at a more leisurely pace.

    It’s still just a blog, not a forum, but I’m giving registered users contributor rights, and will try to ensure that the playing field stays level 🙂

    Anyone who wants to join us, not to desert this site, but to continue interesting discussions, or even start them, on a slower-moving board, will be very welcome.

    Just Park Your Priors By The Door 🙂

  7. 7
    News says:

    Elizabeth Liddle, speaking only for UD News, not the mod team as a whole, it sounds like a good idea. We have the legal and ethical problem that we don’t have the resources to mod a forum. Legal because we are a not-for-profit incorporated in Colorado (and one of us is very vulnerable for nationality reasons), ethical because we have a commitment not to sound like “Down the Illegal Boozecan” or whatever it is. We recommend that you be cautious about contributor rights unless you are well insulated against fallout. A hide of brass helps too. 😉

  8. 8
    material.infantacy says:

    Hi Elizabeth,

    I think you’re site’s down, although I imagine that’s only temporary. I wanted to at least post a “best wishes” in the spirit of good will. I’ll try again when I get the chance.

    Shifting gears, I too appreciate the News articles (I love O’Leary’s style and unique perspective) and they most certainly generate traffic for the site, which is invaluable; but I hope the staff here (small and under appreciated as it may be) considers increasing their sensitivity to the course of discussions which follow the articles, so that interesting discussions that may have tacked away from the original topic have a chance of getting their own thread.

    By the way, I love the “Daily Popular” side bar, which is even more useful if one views their dashboard in the site admin, because you can see ten items instead of five. Unfortunately unless one is a contributor here, the additional pages of info, extending the top ten into the top N, are restricted for some reason, limiting its usefulness. I’d like to request that us little folk get access to those additional pages of info (they’re listed in the “Top Ten Plugin” widget in the dashboard of the site admin).

    I also greatly appreciate the post pinning, which keeps at least one post at the top of the list for a period of time — invaluable.

    Thanks to all the contributors here, and moderators, who labor to make this one of the most fascinating places on teh intertubes.

  9. 9
    Elizabeth Liddle says:

    Thanks news.

    Re “hide of brass”: heh.

    I posted at as a theist at IIDB for several years, and was an admin at Talk Rational after that 🙂

    My hide is fairly brassy.

    But it’s just another blog right now, except slow enough that it can serve as a forum. If it goes that way I will move in that direction, but it will have some fairly strict ground rules, because I’m not interested in another partisan site. There are plenty of those 🙂

    But if people here want to use it as a “snug” where they can down a more leisurely pint or three in the company of people with different worldviews but interested in good-faith discussions, that’s what I have in mind 🙂

    Whether I will achieve it is a different matter.

    And if there’s too much downtime I will have to migrate! (It’s back up now).

  10. 10
    woodford says:

    There is a possible low-cost and low-effort solution.

    Create a new blog with WordPress (free) – call it a different name (UncommonDiscussions?). Then, if an article in the main and current UD blog looks like it is going to generate a lot of discussion, export it to the Discussion blog where it can then continue. WordPress includes a feature to export articles along with comments.

    Once the export is done, over in the main UD site remove the original article and just provide a link to the discussion site.

    Of course, if moderating issues are a concern it won’t solve that, but would at least allow discussions to flourish a bit longer without dying on the vine. And one wouldn’t need to go through the complexities of setting up and maintaining a forum.

  11. 11
    woodford says:

    Elizabeth – thanks for the link to your new site. I think it’s going to generate some good discussion. I’m adding it to my RSS feeder.

    P.S., Thanks for the virtual beer, it’s delicious – well-balanced, nice and malty but with some good strong hops, and a hint of caramel sweetness.

  12. 12
    woodford says:

    Well, this post is already behind 3 others and the end of the page looms in front. I don’t wish to sound cynical but is News going for quantity over relevance? Particularly given that so many posts aren’t even really directly related to ID (and not really “news” either in that they are sometimes not new news at all but just things that have come to the author’s attention). I think ultimately it has a diluting effect. Sometimes less is more…

  13. 13
    Charlie says:

    I enjoy seeing the posts changing frequently. I’d been away from UD for some time as the front page activity had dwindled and the comments are often interesting only to the very few participating.
    Once you’ve waded through the discussions a few times they become quite repetitive. Those chatting with each other, of which I have been one many times (even past MacNeill’s magic 100 comments cut-off) can certainly book mark the page that they are active on and not expect that their conversations will be kept front and centre to the chagrin of the causal observer.
    Keep up the good work.

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