Intelligent Design

Global Warming’s Rising Sea-Levels Threaten to Drown Science Itself

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Here’s a portion of a letter sent by Sens. Jay Rockefeller and Olympia Snowe to the CEO of ExxonMobil. To me, at least, it is becoming increasingly apparent that science as a discipline has lost that essential quality which made science’s authority seem impregnible: objectivity. We increasingly live in a world where everything, including science itself, has been politicized. We’re witnessing the Fall of the Scientific Empire.

The parallels to the ID-NDE debate are transparently clear. Instead of “burning the witches”, we’ll soon be seeing the “heretics” (those that don’t believe in NDE or Global Warming) burnt at the stake. I truly believe we find ourselves at a watershed moment in history. Should science itself be unmoored from its “objective” base, then the Triumph of Subjectivity will be complete–and our intellectual lives, and our souls, imperiled.

A bit melodramatic? Perhaps. But just reflect for a moment that it is no longer just those who refuse to accept Darwinism who are “pseudo-scientists”, but now also those who are skeptical of “global warming”–which is true “pseudo-science” if there ever was any. (I mean here the version of “global warming” that insists that “man” is solely responsible for warming.)

ExxonMobil is not alone in jeopardizing the credibility and stature of the United States. Large corporations in related industries have joined ExxonMobil to provide significant and consistent financial support of this pseudo-scientific, non-peer reviewed echo chamber. The goal has not been to prevail in the scientific debate, but to obscure it. This climate change denial confederacy
has exerted an influence out of all proportion to its size or relative scientific credibility. Through relentless pressure on the media to present the issue “objectively,” and by challenging the consensus on climate change science by misstating both the nature of what “consensus” means and what this particular consensus is, ExxonMobil and its allies have confused the public and given cover to a few senior elected and appointed government officials whose positions and opinions enable them to damage U.S. credibility abroad.

Climate change denial has been so effective because the “denial community” has mischaracterized the necessarily guarded language of serious scientific dialogue as vagueness and uncertainty. Mainstream media outlets, attacked for being biased, help lend credence to skeptics’ views, regardless of their scientific integrity, by giving them relatively equal standing with legitimate scientists. ExxonMobil is responsible for much of this bogus scientific “debate” and the demand for what the deniers cynically refer to as “sound science.”

Two further quotes:

While deniers can easily post something calling into question the scientific consensus on climate change, not a single refereed article in more than a decade has sought to refute it.

Rather, what has emerged and continues to withstand the carefully crafted denial strategy is an insurmountable scientific consensus on both the problem and causation of climate change. Instead of the narrow and inward-looking universe of the deniers, the legitimate scientific community has developed its views on climate change through rigorous peer-reviewed research and writing across all climate-related disciplines and in virtually every country on the globe.

Let’s hear it for “science by consensus”!

Here’s the very perceptive take on this letter by the Opinion Journal.

The full letter to Exxon-Mobil is here.

20 Replies to “Global Warming’s Rising Sea-Levels Threaten to Drown Science Itself

  1. 1
  2. 2
    PaV says:

    johnnyb:

    Here’s a quote from the Crichton article you linked to:

    “I want to pause here and talk about this notion of consensus, and the rise of what has been called consensus science. I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you’re being had.” (Italics added)

  3. 3
    jmcd says:

    I haven’t heard many climatologists insist that man is the sole cause for climate change. The debate has been over to what extent we are causing change. The “consensus” is that man has had a significant effect on climate change.

    The dire predictions that have been made are of course big maybe’s. Every climatologist is well aware of the complexity that governs climatic change and understands our inability to predict with certainty future trends.Various catalytic factors are either unknown or impossible to quantify. For instance, melting permafrost will cause huge amounts of formerly trapped methane to be released to the atmosphere. Just what effect this will have cannot be confidently estimated. The melting of the Greenland and polar ice caps could shut down the Jet Stream by decreasing the salinity of the water in the northern Atlantic. That would make much of America and Europe much colder and much more arid causing global food shortages.

    In the end I think it is a debate about how to best spend societies limited resourdces. The climate is changing with possibly dire consequences. We may or may not be able to affect this process. To do so, if possible, would cost billions upon billions of dollars. All that to possibly avoid possible catastrophes. Personally I think there are better ways to spend our resources with much more concrete results.

  4. 4
    Lurker says:

    Here’s a interesting post related to this subject. In particular I thought this question was a good one:

    “As the global warming debate has shown, the claim that the scientific community has reached a consensus is often used as the primary basis for advocating for changes in public policy. But what makes scientists a special class of experts? Why don’t we defer to the “consensus” opinion of, say, economists, on policy matters?”

  5. 5
    Paul Brand says:

    I think it is a bad decision for the ID camp to object to the consensus science of global warming. I can understand that from an ID perspective, consensus science can and has been wrong in the past. But, I think careful thought needs to be put into other issues (i.e. other than ID) where there is consensus among science. I think it is true that majority expert opinion tends to be more credible than minority expert opinion. That doesn’t mean that the minority is always wrong, but they usually are wrong.

    I think the anti-global warming crowd concerns me, because I think they lack credibility for reasons other than that they are the minority opinion. Their connections with the oil industry is very strong, and thus their credibiliy is diminished because the people putting money in the scientists pockets are biased. Also, some of the key scientists in the anti-global warming crowd were the same people joining forces with the tobacco industry in their objections to the evidence that smoking is bad for your health. That concerns me. If they were very wrong in the past regarding their positions (in spite of overwhelming evidence against them), they cannot be trusted today.

    I can understand the ID crowd wanting to relate to an analogous minority movement, but they shouldn’t just relate with any minority movement, it needs to be a credible one as well.

    I tend to agree that we don’t have 100% precision in the estimates of future climate change, and we don’t have perfect estimates as to the economic cost of it, but the evidence is accumulating, the conesnsus is growing, and because the effects of our decisions are probably going to have a significant impact on the future, its not something we can ignore. I think it is very prudent that we make decisions based on the best information we have, even if the information is not exhaustive.

  6. 6
    PaV says:

    Paul Brand:

    “Also, some of the key scientists in the anti-global warming crowd were the same people joining forces with the tobacco industry in their objections to the evidence that smoking is bad for your health. ”

    This is an outlandish statement. Please back it up with evidence.

    “I think the anti-global warming crowd concerns me, because I think they lack credibility for reasons other than that they are the minority opinion. Their connections with the oil industry is very strong, and thus their credibiliy is diminished because the people putting money in the scientists pockets are biased.”

    And, tell me Paul, if the “consensus” is that global-warming is man-made, then will the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and government funding agencies give money to those scientists who disagree with man-made global warming? Will journals allow articles taking this position to be published? If they don’t, then how can the “consensus” be anything other than global warming is man-made?

    It’s like the mainstream media: for two weeks they have one story or another about how terrible drinking is on college freshmen, and then turn around and after the two weeks take a “poll” to see how many people are opposed to alcholic being allowed on campus. The results of that poll are completely useless (unless, of course, you’re trying to push opinion your way).

  7. 7
    Paul Brand says:

    PaV,

    http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/denialmachine/index.html

    This is a 40 minute documentary Fifth Estate documentary from CBC that portrayed Fred Singer as a guy who was funded by the tobacco industry to criticize the science that second hand smoke was bad for your health (and then later to be funded by the oil industry to second guess the science of global warming. Coincidentally, O’Leary put a link to the National Post in her most recent blog where Singer defended his claim against the accusation.

    (http://www.canada.com/national.....2&p=1).

    I think there may be good reason why so few in the scientific community take Singer seriously. Or, perhaps it is a massive conspiracy, and I’m seriously misled.

    I plan on researching the evidence further. The supposed correlation between the number of sun spots and global temperature seems interesting enough to look into further. I would be surprised if the scientific community didn’t consider this correlation before arriving at their conclusions. I’ll find out for myself soon enough.

  8. 8
    TerryL says:

    I think the real problem with consensus science is that it substitutes the weight of opinion for scientific evidence. It is in this vein that junk science can often pass for the real thing.

    Have a read of Michael Crichton’s State of Fear, an excellent treatment of politicized science, which relies most heavily on concensus.

    We should also remind ourselves that a scant decade or so ago, scientific consensus was making dire predictions about global COOLING, which was blamed to a large extent on the internal combustion engine; this is the same scapegoat as cited by today’s global warming crowd. As P.J. O’Rourke noted in his book All the Troubles in the World, it seems strange that the killing us then should be the same thing killing us now.

  9. 9
    Paul Brand says:

    Can anyone verify the validity of the statement that there was scientific consensus regarding global cooling? Wikipedia suggests there wasn’t anything close to consensus, though it is a fact that some scientists suggested global cooling as a strong possibility. My perception is that global cooling was a position taken by a few scientists for a relatively short period of time (and I say short in comparison to the longevity of global warming science). Thanks in advance.

  10. 10
    tribune7 says:

    Paul,

    Global warming is not a crisis. You can relax.

  11. 11
    DaveScot says:

    Paul

    The National Science Foundation in 1972 and 1974 affirmed that the earth was cooling and the 20-30 year cooling trend they cited is undisputed.

    During the same timeframe these cooling trends were the subject of global cooling articles appearing in Newsweek and Time magazines. Most of us who were old enough to be reading about it at the time remember the scare quite well.

    Was there a consensus about cooling trends? Yup. That’s undisputed. Was there a consensus that it was the first sign of impending doom from a frozen earth? Probably not. Some scientists thought human contributions to the planet would might avoid the next ice age. Now in large number they’re saying it’s more than just preventing the next ice age but are making alarmist predictions that the end is near. In point of fact they just don’t know either way.

  12. 12
    PaV says:

    Paul Brand:

    This is a 40 minute documentary Fifth Estate documentary from CBC that portrayed Fred Singer as a guy who was funded by the tobacco industry to criticize the science that second hand smoke was bad for your health (and then later to be funded by the oil industry to second guess the science of global warming.

    In condemning the scientists involved, you used the plural. So, it appears we’re talking only about one scientist. And we’re talking about a scientist who was not disputing claims that tobacco harmed people, but was criticizing the wild claims being made about second-hand smoke. There’s a great difference between these two positions. Supposed second-hand smoke “science” is bogus science, driven by an agenda; as, apparently, is global warming.

    And, now, here’s the howl (taken from the CBC ‘documentary’) raised against scientists who disagree with GW:

    “It shows that companies such as Exxon Mobil are working with top public relations firms and using many of the same tactics and personnel as those employed by Phillip Morris and RJ Reynolds to dispute the cigarette-cancer link in the 1990s. Exxon Mobil sought out those willing to question the science behind climate change, providing funding for some of them, their organizations and their studies. ”

    Tsk, tsk. Using PR firms. How terrible! But, then there’s this from Singer’s defense against these attacks:

    “As the flaws in climate science begin to sink in and affect public opinion, the spin doctors have started to take over. Pre-eminent among these has been the PR firm of James Hoggan of Vancouver. Mr. Hoggan has unleashed press releases and bloggers, and now appears on the CBC in an attempt to discredit scientists –including me — who do not share his or his clients’ views on climate change.”

    Who hired Mr. Hoggan, and why? Is this how science is done? Someone makes a contrary scientific complaint, and, so, you then hire a PR firm to discredit them? Let’s not forget that the Opinion Journal article that I cite above shows two U.S. Senators practically threatening an American corporation to stop their funding of a group that provides scientific evidence that GW is over-blown pseudo-science. This is no more than an attempt, using the power of government, to suppress a particular point of view. The Senators don’t refute the science; they don’t cite the science; they don’t cite criticism of the science they decry. They just tell ExxonMobil: Shut up!

    My long experience with liberalism tells me that whenever a liberal is attacking his or her opponent, the way they describe their opponent is, in reality, a description of themselves. That principle, applied here, means we need to translate Hoggan’s attack against Singer. Translated, it reads thusly:

    Environmental groups (substitute for Exxon Mobil) sought out those willing to condemn the scientists who question the science behind climate change, providing funding for some of them, their organizations and their studies. ”

    You say you’re going to look into this issue some more, afraid that maybe you’re being mislead. Well, if you do so in an honest way, you will discover that you have been mislead. We might have to then celebrate your “coming-of-age” party. Good luck!

  13. 13
    Paul Brand says:

    PaV,

    I learned long ago, that once vitriolic personal attacks enters the discussion, the discussion is over. You may want to reconsider your tactics if you desire to convince people. Gratifying yourself with personal insults is not an effective method. Bye, bye.

    Paul

  14. 14
    PaV says:

    Well, Paul, if you’re looking in, if you think that is “vitriolic”, you haven’t seen anything. And, please, what qualifies as a “vitriolic personal attack”, the fact that I pointed out you used the plural, scientists, and then mentioned only one scientist? Hardly vitriol IMO.

  15. 15
    tribune7 says:

    Another reason not to take GW advocates seriously.

    If they really thought C02 emissions were going to end humanity, they would be going bats over this plan to eleminate a non-C02 producing power source.

    I suspect, however, those behind this idea to breach the dams are also among those spread FUD about GW.

  16. 16
    Jehu says:

    PaV,

    As best I can tell your post was neither an attack nor vitriolic. I thought it was darn interesting and I learned some things that I was unaware of about the GW debate.

    I have often noticed that posters who tend to take a strong “status quo/conventional wisdom” position on things deal very poorly with any kind of intellectual opposition to their beliefs. It has been my experience that they will often claim to be offended in order to avoid having to make a logical defense of their position.

  17. 17
    Paul Brand says:

    PaV,

    I wrongly presumed it was self-evident what I thought was condescending. Apparently, I’m the only one who knows what I found offensive.

    “We might have to then celebrate your “coming-of-age” party. Good luck! ”

    Am I the only one who thinks this is condescending?

    Or how about this: “afraid that maybe you’re being mislead. ” I don’t have much reason to be afraid that the world is not warming up. But apparently, you presume I am afraid. Would you care to explain how you jumped to the conclusion that I was afraid? Why am I afraid PaV?

    And then you write this: “And, please, what qualifies as a “vitriolic personal attack”, the fact that I pointed out you used the plural, scientists, and then mentioned only one scientist? Hardly vitriol IMO. ”

    What made you think I thought it was vitriolic? Please tell me. You must have good reason to think I found that more vitriolic than your “coming of age” comment. Either that, or your rhetoric is shallow and vacuous.

    And this is all forgetting your otherwise sarcastic tone throughout your posts.

    How about this: “My long experience with liberalism tells me that whenever a liberal is attacking his or her opponent, the way they describe their opponent is, in reality, a description of themselves.”

    So this isn’t really about global warming. This is about the evil of liberalism.

    “In condemning the scientists involved, you used the plural.” Wrong. It was the CBC that was condemning the plural scientists. That I offered one example, doesn’t imply there aren’t more. You jumped to the wrong conclusion. Which you have done more than once. Don’t you know it is better to ask for clarification than to wrongly assume?

  18. 18
    PaV says:

    Paul, I’m just going to touch on a few points. The last paragraph of my second post here was all “tongue-in-cheek”. That’s why I couldn’t figure out what you could possibly consider an attack.

    As to my reference to liberalism, that was an attack on liberalism, not you personally. But, just for a closer look: an environmental group hires a PR firm, which then comes out and attacks ExxonMobil for hiring a PR firm in its struggle against GW group-think. Basically, the liberals are accusing ExxonMobil of hiring the PR firm because only public relations–media hype–can contradict the solid science behind GW. Yet, in reality, science does not back up GW claims. It’s plain to see. So, here are liberals accusing ExxonMobil of exactly what they are doing: in the face of science which does not support their position, they’ve hired a PR firm to win the war via the media. My analysis is spot on–if the science indeed discredits GW. Did you know that the very scientist who invented the term, “global warming”, in his testimony before Congress has now distanced himself from his previous position? Did you know that Fred Singer is a preeminent climatologist? Did you know that the summary statement of the international commission that looked into GW takes a position regarding the human component of GW that is direct contradiction of what the report contains?

    “Either that, or your rhetoric is shallow and vacuous.” Paul, this verges on a vitriolic, personal attack, don’t you think?

    “I wrongly presumed it was self-evident what I thought was condescending. ”

    But you didn’t say “condescending”; you said a “vitriolic, personal attack”. I can’t read minds.

    “That I offered one example, doesn’t imply there aren’t more. ”

    Having read Singer’s defense, don’t you think the allegations made against him are specious? Don’t you think he considers them specious, given that he is considering suing Mr. Hoggan? I think you’ve been misled, and, yet, you don’t seem to have noticed it. That’s not a good sign.

  19. 19
    egbooth says:

    I’m going to try this one more time because it seems like my last one didn’t go through for some reason.

    Contrary to DaveScot’s assertion about global cooling, the following article explains in detail that there wasn’t anything close to scientific consensus regarding global cooling in the 1970’s. As with any type of hysteria, the media blew it way out of proportion while climate scientists at the time constantly made the point that there current understanding would not allow them to predict future climate well enough. The state of science has, of course, changed substantially since then. For more info on this “Global Cooling Myth”, which is advanced by DS and many others, see here:

    http://www.realclimate.org/ind.....ling-myth/

    Scientists of the 70’s were more temperate (pun intended) in their remarks and thinking than they are today. If you ask a computer model to take climate data from 1980 to 1990, and to then predict the climate for 1991 to 2000, it can’t do it accurately. So why should we believe their dire warnings concerning 2050? And—can we do anything about it at all? We’re seeing nothing but “consensus science”, and this is very unhealthy–not GW.

  20. 20
    David L. Hagen says:

    Lord Monckton exposes anti-science arguments of Senators Rockefeller and Snowe

    British Lord Stings Senators Rockefeller and Snowe: ‘Uphold Free Speech or Resign’
    Dec 18 4:58 AM US/Eastern
    http://www.breitbart.com/news/.....CM029.html

    WASHINGTON, Dec. 18 /PRNewswire/ — Lord Monckton, Viscount of Brenchley, has sent an open letter to Senators Rockefeller (D-WV) and Snowe (R-Maine) in response to their recent open letter telling the CEO of ExxonMobil to cease funding climate-skeptic scientists. (http://ff.org/centers/csspp/pd.....nckton.pdf).

    Lord Monckton, former policy adviser to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, writes: “You defy every tenet of democracy when you invite ExxonMobil to deny itself the right to provide information to ‘senior elected and appointed government officials’ who disagree with your opinion.”

    In what The Charleston (WV) Daily Mail has called “an intemperate attempt to squelch debate with a hint of political consequences,” Senators Rockefeller and Snowe released an open letter dated October 30 to ExxonMobil CEO, Rex Tillerson, insisting he end Exxon’s funding of a “climate change denial campaign.” The Senators labeled scientists with whom they disagree as “deniers,” a term usually directed at “Holocaust deniers.” Some voices on the political left have called for the arrest and prosecution of skeptical scientists. The British Foreign Secretary has said skeptics should be treated like advocates of Islamic terror and must be denied access to the media.

    Responds Lord Monckton, “Sceptics and those who have the courage to support them are actually helpful in getting the science right. They do not, as you improperly suggest, ‘obfuscate’ the issue: they assist in clarifying it by challenging weaknesses in the ‘consensus’ argument and they compel necessary corrections … ”

    For further excellent rebuttal see full article at: http://www.breitbart.com/news/.....CM029.html

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