Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Captain Renault Weighs in on the Climate Debate


A couple of years ago, I went to trial in a breach of contract case in which the defendant’s entire defense rested on denying that he knew something he obviously knew.

I had a little fun with this.  When it came time to argue the case to the jury I pointed out that the defendant had employed the “Captain Renault Defense,” and to explain what I meant by this, I played this clip from Casablanca.  You probably won’t be surprised to learn that I won that case.

I was reminded of this by one of the responses to my last post.   I pointed out that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration had been caught massaging the global temperature numbers, because the real numbers stubbornly refused to fit the climate alarmist narrative.

Our frequent guest Seversky weighed in by attempting to defend NOAA’s antics.  Which leads me to ask this question:  Excluding climate alarmist true believers, is there a single person on the face of the planet who could not have predicted that after NOAA massaged the numbers, the result would be an increase in temps?

Yep, Seversky is the Captain Renault of the climate debate:

“I’m shocked, shocked to learn that after NOAA massaged the numbers the temps went up. You know it really could have gone either way.”

The irony, of course, is that Seversky is a frequent contributor to The Skeptical Zone, where they are skeptical of everything. Well, everything except the dominant narrative.  As Sev’s comment demonstrates, they accept that with a brassbound fideism that would make a medieval churchman blush.

I have to say I'm almost flattered by the Captain Renault comparison. Casablanca is one of my all-time favorite movies and in it a great character actor, Claude Rains, creates one of the greatest and almost endearing characters of all time, neither villain nor hero or maybe both. The difference between Renault's disingenuousness about the gambling in Rick's place and the "massaging" of data in climate science - or science generally - is that science does not deny that "massaging" happens, depending on what you mean by "massaging". Suppose a climate scientist is compiling historical temperature measurements from weather stations around the world. Some of the stations used the Fahrenheit scale, others the Celsius scale. For convenience, all the Fahrenheit readings are converted to Celsius. Is that "massaging" the data? Or, some of the stations give consistently higher readings than their neighbors. On checking it's discovered that all those stations are in or very near large cities and possibly subject to a "heat island" effect. To get a clearer picture of temperature trends outside the influence of artificially warmer conurbations, those readings are excluded from the dataset. Is that also "massaging"? Sure, you can "massage" data to produce a preconceived result but such "massaging" can also be used to reveal an underlying trend that is actually there but not be obvious at first glance. How would you tell the difference? Seversky
"May I suggest Barry, that you and your fellow travellers spend a year in Sub-Saharan Africa, or deepest drkest Tasmania." rvb8, Maybe you can go to deepest drkest Tasmania, and then just stay there permanently. Andrew asauber
The following is from a transcript of a talk given by Patrick Moore who is one of the founding members of Greenpeace. (I have provided a link to the full transcript below.)
“At the height of the Cold War, the Vietnam War,” Moore tells us, when “the threat of all-out nuclear war and the newly emerging consciousness of the environment I was transformed into a radical environmental activist. While doing my PhD in ecology in 1971 I joined a group of activists who had begun to meet in the basement of the Unitarian Church, to plan a protest voyage against US hydrogen bomb testing in Alaska. “We proved that a somewhat rag-tag looking group of activists could sail an old fishing boat across the north Pacific ocean and help change the course of history. We created a focal point for the media to report on public opposition to the tests. “When that H-bomb exploded in November 1971, it was the last hydrogen bomb the United States ever detonated. Even though there were four more tests planned in the series, President Nixon canceled them due to the public opposition we had helped to create. That was the birth of Greenpeace. “Flushed with victory, on our way home from Alaska we were made brothers of the Namgis Nation in their Big House at Alert Bay near my northern Vancouver Island home. For Greenpeace this began the tradition of the Warriors of the Rainbow, after a Cree Indian legend that predicted the coming together of all races and creeds to save the Earth from destruction. We named our ship the Rainbow Warrior and I spent the next fifteen years in the top committee of Greenpeace, on the front lines of the environmental movement as we evolved from that church basement into the world’s largest environmental activist organization. “Next we took on French atmospheric nuclear testing in the South Pacific. They proved a bit more difficult than the US nuclear tests. It took years to eventually drive these tests underground at Mururoa Atoll in French Polynesia. In 1985, under direct orders from President Mitterrand, French commandos bombed and sank the Rainbow Warrior in Auckland Harbour, killing our photographer… “Going back to 1975, Greenpeace set out to save the whales from extinction at the hands of huge factory whaling fleets. We confronted the Soviet factory whaling fleet in the North Pacific, putting ourselves in front of their harpoons in our little rubber boats to protect the fleeing whales. This was broadcast on television news around the world, bringing the Save the Whales movement into everyone’s living rooms for the first time. After four years of voyages, in 1979 factory whaling was finally banned in the North Pacific, and by 1981 in all the world’s oceans. In 1978 I sat on a baby seal off the East Coast of Canada to protect it from the hunter’s club. I was arrested and hauled off to jail, the seal was clubbed and skinned, but a photo of me being arrested while sitting on the baby seal appeared in more than 3000 newspapers around the world the next morning. We won the hearts and minds of millions of people who saw the baby seal slaughter as outdated, cruel, and unnecessary.” (emphasis added)
https://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/10/15/greenpeace-founder-delivers-powerful-annual-lecture-praises-carbon-dioxide-full-text/ Moore then goes on to talk about man caused climate change, rising CO2 levels and what we need to do to the benefit the human race. I agree with everything he says about the scientific method, man caused climate change and global warming and how we can all work together for the benefit of mankind and the environment. Here is a youtube video of him giving basically the same talk. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NtcNjoDe5Pg john_a_designer
It fascinates me that the contributors here, who deny GW are from temperate climes. That is, from parts of the US or Britain that have occasional weather aberrations, but on the whole, have a normal spring, summer, autumn, and winter. May I suggest Barry, that you and your fellow travellers spend a year in Sub-Saharan Africa, or deepest drkest Tasmania. You see, when you look out of your window and say, 'nope, weather's fine, taint no climate change in my neck of the woods', you sound a tad blinkered. Climate Change is happening Barry, and it is man made. The Insurance Industry adjust their premiums to account for losses, which YOU pay for BTW. Governments are in agreement, and we should see a wholesale, States rebellion against Trump's Denial soon. (The individual 50 States -apart from maybe the South- will just inact their own Climate Laws, thus enshrining one of that document's gretaest attributes; States Rights.) The Science communiy, (oh dear, the Science Community, not really a friend of ID, UD, CSI, FSCI, and various other acronyms, is it?), is as near to 100% behind this scientific fact, as to make it a scientific fact. This is the same problem you have with other scientific facts. Business? Well business is coming around to the idea that there is money to be made in this scientific fact; we can profit from Clean Energy! So, government, academia, business, and the thinking general public are against your denial. As I said previously, this is a familiar position for you. rvb8
The following you tube video is from Dr Roger Pielke’s Testimony before the U.S. Senate on Climate Change in 2013. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oN_oynx1D8w&t=508s Once again, please notice that he makes it very clear up front (beginning at the 3:10 minute mark) that he believes that man caused climate change is real and evident in the data and we need to take action to mitigate its effects. (He cannot be accused of being a “denier.”) On the other hand, he does not think or believe, based on his own research and the research of other experts, that man caused climate change has been a contributing factor in the number, frequency or intensity of hurricanes, tornado’s, floods or droughts worldwide. For this opinion, as wikileaks has shown, he has been demonized, vilified, marginalized and ostracized by influential climate change activists. Also, here is the briefing paper that he used for his 2013 Senate Testimony: http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/admin/publication_files/2013.38.pdf I have seen no refutation of the data Pielke presents. On the other hand, I have seen seen quite a bit of corroboration. So why the smear campaign against him? The inconvenient truth about climate change “science” is that it is presently being driven by politics, not science. Pielke is not the only dissenting voice that climate change activists have tried to silence. Objective empirical science does not start out by mandating a conclusion to a hypothesis. Rather, science is a quest for truth whatever that truth may be. john_a_designer
I whole heartedly believe the Warmists massage temperature data in order to produce results from climate models that support human caused global warming. But it's important to understand that EVERYONE who analyzes weather data massages the raw numbers before starting their analysis. For example, there are "weather stations" (which look like something from a high school science fair) that consistently report temperatures several degrees higher (or lower) than any of the surrounding weather stations. Competent neutral analysts routinely delete these outliers. People with an axe to grind (and money at stake) retain the outliers and may discard some of the more stable records instead. Additionally, the coldest temperatures regularly reported come from Siberia. One of the effects of the collapse of the Soviet government was that many of the Siberian weather stations were closed to save money. Competent analysts then deleted ALL previous data for these stations. People with an axe to grind left the old data in (to keep old temperatures down), and ignored their absence in the new data sets. So, everybody manipulates the raw data before conducting analyses. But the Warmists have been intentionally manipulating the data they feed into their computer models to predict shocking increases in temperature. This is of course unethical, but it gets you fresh grant money next year. Oh, also note that the continents in the northern hemisphere are still rising (rebounding from the removal of several miles of snow and ice at the end of the last Ice Age). This is in direct contradiction of the "rising ocean levels" of the Alarmists. Norway is rising several millimeters every year, and it's more like that the North Sea will become cow pastures than that Holland will be under water. mahuna
Thanks to Wikileaks we can now peek in behind closed doors and see what really goes on in that back room where politics meets climate science. There’s not a lot of gambling. There is, however, a lot of a planning and plotting about outcomes and about how to game the system. Why? It looks to me like if everyone plays their cards right there is a lot of money to be made. But if not that then obviously they believe that climate change “science” is the key to a lot of power and control. Consider the following:
[Roger] Pielke, a professor at the University of Colorado since 2001, holds degrees in mathematics, public policy, and political science. He has authored or co-authored seven books. He has won several awards for his academic work. For about two decades, he was a prolific writer and speaker on climate issues. In 2013, he testified before Congress and declared that there is “exceedingly little scientific support for claims found in the media and political debate that hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and drought have increased in frequency or intensity on climate timescales either in the United States or globally.” During that same testimony, he said that global weather-related losses have not increased since 1990 as a proportion of GDP. He went on, saying that there were also no observable increases in floods, tornadoes, or droughts. Pielke’s work was backed up by data and, in many cases, by the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/441438/wikileaks-john-podesta-silenced-climate-change-dissent The article goes on to claim that, “Pielke had been the subject of a years-long smear campaign led by ThinkProgress’s Joe Romm. In fact, Romm had what can only be described as an obsession with Pielke. In a recent Twitter posting, Pielke wrote: ‘Propaganda works: I count more than 160 articles at the Center for American Progress trashing me over the years.’” Pielke has spoken out on his own elsewhere. In an article first published in The Wall Street Journal (12/2/16) he wrote:
Much to my surprise, I showed up in the WikiLeaks releases before the election. In a 2014 email, a staffer at the Center for American Progress, founded by John Podesta in 2003, took credit for a campaign to have me eliminated as a writer for Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight website. In the email, the editor of the think tank’s climate blog bragged to one of its billionaire donors, Tom Steyer: “I think it’s fair [to] say that, without Climate Progress, Pielke would still be writing on climate change for 538.” WikiLeaks provides a window into a world I’ve seen up close for decades: the debate over what to do about climate change, and the role of science in that argument… my long experience shows what can happen when politicians and media turn against inconvenient research—which we’ve seen under Republican and Democratic presidents.
https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/12/04/roger-pielke-jr-my-unhappy-life-as-a-climate-heretic/ They have succeeded in driving Pielke out of the climate science debate. Why? Was it because he was a so called climate change DENIER? This may come as a shock (since we are talking about being shocked… Shocked!) but no. In fact, he very unequivocally states his position.
I believe climate change is real and that human emissions of greenhouse gases risk justifying action, including a carbon tax. But my research led me to a conclusion that many climate campaigners find unacceptable: There is scant evidence to indicate that hurricanes, floods, tornadoes or drought have become more frequent or intense in the U.S. or globally. In fact we are in an era of good fortune when it comes to extreme weather. This is a topic I’ve studied and published on as much as anyone over two decades. My conclusion might be wrong, but I think I’ve earned the right to share this research without risk to my career.
So what was his sin? This: “In 2013, he testified before Congress and declared that there is ’exceedingly little scientific support for claims found in the media and political debate that hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and drought have increased in frequency or intensity on climate timescales either in the United States or globally.”’ In other words, he questioned one of the tenets of the faith. Therefore he was shunned and banished… Sounds like religion to me. When science becomes a religion we are all in deep trouble. john_a_designer

Leave a Reply