Skeptical Environmentalist Vindicated

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According to a press release just in, Bjorn Lomborg, author of the controversial The Skeptical Environmentalist, has been vindicated by the Danish Ministry of Science. Earlier this year, the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty, as part of a sustained smear campaign by committed ideological environmentalists, issued an infamous decision that Lomborg's book "objectively speaking" fell "within the concept of scientific dishonesty." Now the Danish Science Ministry has issued a ruling which repudiates the DCSD decision and remits the matter back to them.

Among other things, the Ministry ruling noted:

?Here the Ministry must point out that the DCSD has not documented where the respondent [Bjorn Lomborg] has allegedly been biased in his choice of data and in his argumentation, and that the ruling is completely void of argumentation for why the DCSD find that the complainants [environmental activists]are right in their criticisms of BL?s working methods."

The DCSD attack on Lomborg was headlined around the world; I wonder if this repudiation will make the front pages of the newspapers? Nah, I'm not that naive.

NEXT: The Humiliation Card

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  1. The truth about global warming is that it could potentially have nagative effects on the leisure activities of European elites. This is why any vindication of Lomborg will be burried.

  2. Hmm, never heard of the original decision. Must not have been heralded around my world.

    I do recall an op-ed piece in the WSJ by Legates claiming that climate scientists had been “silenced.” Of course, the problem was that Legates didn’t care to give us an example of such. If he was writing of Lomborg, well, first, he’s not a climate scientist; second, he was hardly “silenced.” Its not as if somehow threw him into a jail cell.

    I swear, the “emotional” flat out irrational discourse that comes from nearly all sides of this debate gets annoying after a while.

    Rick Barton,

    “Government money can even wreck science.”

    So can industry; indeed, there are entire industries that are based on junk science – healing touch, that bizarre one which concerns the multi-dilutions of substances, etc. Not to mention the outright lies fabricated by the tobacco industry concerning the effects of smoking. And as you would be correct to state that people made decisions about smoking, I am right that fabrications and lies and the creation of junk science are also not something to be praised.

  3. Um, Jean, there is nothing compelling an individual to support market-born bad science.

  4. hey Jean Bart,

    this was touted pretty big in the UK, of course in denmark, and i saw a bit of it on cnn, too.

    however, if he were “convicted”, he’d have lost his professorship at Aarhus university, for one. so, he’da lost his funding for research from that part, anyways. and he’da lost any eligibility for research in denmark, his home. so that would’ve been a pretty powerful condemnation.

    but you are indeed correct: BL is merely a statistician. and that what his work was about. and yes, i’d say there was a pretty concentrated smear campaign, in denmark at least, about him.

    cheers!
    drf

  5. beanie,

    Even if this is true, this somehow excuses market-based bad or junk science?

    And of course the problem is that such junk science will eventually become part of some government policy; so its best to attack and kill it while it is still private.

  6. david f,

    Well, the problem is that Legates never mentioned Lomborg’s name in his WSJ op-ed; he just claimed that climate scientists were being “silenced.”

    Indeed, even if he were referring to Lomborg. Lomborg was never silenced; he had his day in court and he won. The process worked; and everyone should be happy about that. Instead what we have is wailing and gnashing of teeth.

  7. Yay! When gambling about complex issues such as climate change it’s always best to risk being wrong as long as it supports your political views.

    Time to ramp up the consumption levels! Hey! Now that the Danish Ministry of Science has become properly politized like our boys let’s see if they can come on the the side of Greg Easterbrook and Julian Simon too.

    Who needs the rest of the scientific community when you can buy off a few and be celebrated by this unbiased staff.

    You know what, the world is not going to be destroyed, but the damage is real. Maybe if the enviromental cost was calculated into the GNP people might get a better understanding of the situation. There’s a formula called “I=PAT.” I stands for impact, P for population, A for affluence, and T for technology. You are putting all your hope in T, which is Simon’s substitutability.

  8. david f,

    Apparently the French press didn’t care about the original accusation; and as I don’t watch CNN, well, you see my point. Of course we think that you Danes are insane anyway…. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Jean,

    I by no means endorse market-born junk science, I just find politicized science often times more damaging.

    John,

    I believe the arguement is over the unjust initial treatment of Bjorn’s book due to political bias, I highly doubt anyone here would be satisfied if science were subjegated to politics either way. With regard to your’s and Jean’s post, the honest scientific community faces a difficult task of sorting through good and bad science. Politicizing only exacerbates this difficulty.

  10. “The DCSD attack on Lomborg was headlined around the world”

    Huh? Other than low readership political websites, (which are “around the world,” I guess), the only place I ever saw any mention of the attacks was at the bottom of stories about Longborg’s book itself – which were few and far between in their own right.

    Your charge is nonsense.

  11. BTW, Lomborg’s work was not “vindicated;” it appears it was his detractor’s work that was plowed under. In other words, the write-up doesn’t state that Lomborg’s claims were indeed vindicated or otherwise shown to have merit. In fact, the write-up is itself fairly disingenouos in this regard.

  12. Gee, let’s see: The GWT (the “T” standing for Theory)is absolutely clear to anyone who is not part of the VRWC, Big Oil, or Haliburton.

    So why do GWT’s most vociferous supporters (few, very few, of whom are climatologists), want to keep censoring those doubters such as Lomborg, whose credentials are as good as such censors (or especially want to keep censoring those who just want the record – e.g. childrens’ textbooks – to show that GWT is only a theory & that it has many opponents with credibility.)

    Why does this Climate Gestapo make junk-science claims such as “a majority of scientists” accept this GWT (theory!) as revealed truth, without telling us that a majority of such robotic, lockstep scientists are not climatologists?

    Haven’t they seen Arthur M’s “The Crucible”, played every month on PBS, warning us about those who would silence truthtellers like Lomborg?

    TmCom

  13. John,

    I=PAT is a model; models are by definition incomplete and full of error.

  14. Hey Jean Bart!

    you betcha! it’s the old, “he’s world famous here” syndrome….. ๐Ÿ™‚

    you’re right, however, he’s not “silenced” at all. (admitedly, i don’t know if he’s meant in the wsj article, either)

    the strange thing in Dk is that this would have been the de facto ruination of his career, and in that sense, it is worrying that going against the canon potentially causes that. scientific fraud is one thing, not pleasing the political landscape is another. you can see this type of thing surrounding the EU in the danish press. with the canon of belief being {welfare state, nanny state, bureaucratic super state, anti-america at some level or another, anti big country at another level, i’ll insult you but you can’t insult me}. quite a cheery set…

    as the original poster referred to Galelio (dammit, the “shakespeare’s sister” song is going through my head now. dead cats dead cats dead cats. anything to get that sound out… must get out…) ahem. anyways, let’s get the strom thurmond people, the global warming people, and the war in iraq people together in a room, have a coupla sheep, some james bond movies (diamonds are forever, majesty’s secret service, golden gun), a quart of maddog 20 20, and a video camera. that’d be fun. oh, and some of those buzzie-buzzie toys from texas. that’d be greeeaaaat.

    cheers,
    drf

  15. Well, Jean, it was a heck of an issue in the English-speaking world, with vicious and dishonest attacks on Lomborg in Australia, New Zealand, UK and the USA. If you didn’t notice, then maybe you weren’t paying attention.

  16. DRF,

    Shakespeare’s Sister or Indigo Girls?

  17. hey Beanie!

    good call. not sure, actually. let’s say “indigo” then. one of those “me, too” bands of that era. kinda like edie brickel and michelle schocked seem the same to this listener.

    thanks for the correction! (still trying to get that song out of head. argh! ritalin ritalin ritalin. “rosanne barr naked”)

    cheers!
    drf

  18. The report from ‘Videnskabsministeriet’ in pdf (danish):

    http://www.videnskabsministeriet.dk/fsk/div/jak/vtubrev.pdf

  19. The report from ‘Videnskabsministeriet’ in pdf (danish):

    http://www.videnskabsministeriet.dk/fsk/div/jak/vtubrev.pdf

  20. The report from ‘Videnskabsministeriet’ in pdf (danish):

    http://www.videnskabsministeriet.dk/fsk/div/jak/vtubrev.pdf

  21. Kim,

    Have a French translation? ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. BTW, Lomborg’s work was not “vindicated;”

    Sure it was, it was vindicated of the attacks by the DCSD. The word may used in this way, with an object. The object in this case being the DCSD.

    Anyway, many of the critics of The Skeptical Environmentalist relied on, and quoted the DCSD report.

  23. Or Innocence Mission and the Sundays…

    Though I prefer the Sundays myself.

  24. Rick Barton,

    No, his report was not vindicated; if it were, then the decision would have spoken to the merits of his report. Indeed, what was at issue here was not his report, but the ruling of the DCSD. Now Lomborg was cleared of charges of scientific dishonesty; but that is not a vindication of his report, which is what Bailey implies here.

  25. david f,

    I am of the opinion that the entire issue is far too political for most of the people who are commenting on it come to the issue without some rather skewed political and ideological biases. That’s largely because say unlike something string theory, which is controversial, but doesn’t cross ideological lines I think, these issues have a lot of money and ideological passion (on all sides) involved that completely interfere with the science. People have an actual interest in creating junk science; or otherwise skewing their studies (witness the blow-up about the Mann, et al. study – both Mann and his detractors seem to be making some rather unwarranted assumptions and skewing the data to fit their agendas).

  26. Global warming is complex. It’s hard to predict the weather for more than a week, but there are signs that most in the scientific community agrees with that point to climate change. There is something called the second law of thermodynamics and the buffer that is the ocean conveyer belt may be slowed by the desalinization of the oceans as the glaciers melt. That might be the cause of our ice ages, but we don’t know for sure and that reasonable doubt is being exploited. It’s like how the critics of Evolution point to the incomplete fossil record as proof. The imperfect models (happy? Jean) of climatologists are being used to question the fundamentals. We are only starting to understand the role of things like glaciers, but we can point to a number of small changes that are alarming.

    A small change is significant.

    “Local climates will turn more variable, as heat waves increase in frequency. Even a small rise in average temperature results in many more instances of extremely high temperatures. The reason is purely statistical effect. A small shift in a normal statistical distribution in one direction lifts the former extreme in that direction from near zero to a proportionately far higher number. (Thus, to take another example, if the average mathematical ability of the human species were raised ten percent, the difference in the mass of people might not be noticeable, but Einsteins would be commonplace.)”

    -Edward O. Wilson, Consilience (page 312-3)

    I’m sorry, I don’t want to paint this staff as being in favor of junk science, but when you link Glen’s (biased) article without addressing how few scientists concur, it seems like more a celebration of a viewpoint. The viewpoint being that it’s better to take a gamble with the environment than take the scientific community seriously.

    TomCom,

    Maybe you should think of theory in terms of the one of gravity to better appreciate its status. Also, can you point to a single instance of censorship? And can you debunk the statement that a majority of climatologists support GWT’s implications?

  27. At risk of standing accused of pedantry, may I humbly direct Jean Bart to the dictionary.com entry for the word “vindicated”. The first (and thus, by convention, most common) definition of the word is as follows:

    “To clear of accusation, blame, suspicion, or doubt with supporting arguments or proof.”

    The Danish Ministry of Science absolutely has cleared Lomborg of accusation, blame, suspicion, or doubt with supporting arguments. The Ministry doesn’t need to speak to the merits of Lomborg’s argument to clear him of specious charges of scientific dishonesty, and it is absolutely asinine to behave as if this is not a vindication, as the word is commonly defined, used, and understood.

  28. JB,

    Vindicated? I doubt he was looking for some governmental stamp of approval for his work — he was trying recover from a governmental punch to the crotch. The higher authority merely called it a low blow.

    That doesn’t equal “vindication” or approval of his claims, just evisceration of how the “charges” against him were handled. If this were a criminal case (in the US, hopefully) it was just reversed on appeal and sent back for a new trial. Seen this way, those opposing his work still haven’t proved a thing.

  29. Brett, a particularly common usage of the word “vindicated” is as in “his theory has been vindicated.” In this case, vindicated means “demonstrated to be true” not “defended against an attack.” The fact that this story is about a text dealing with scientific theories, and involves a body that reviews science, makes it ambiguous whether the word is being used to mean “defended” or “proven.”

    If I were looking to avoid falsely implying that the DCSD was endorsing Lomborg’s book, I would have written the sentence differently.

    If.

  30. Jean Bart,
    As I said, the word “vindicated” is often used in reference to an object, in this case the object is the DCSD. Actually, universal vindication of anything seems rather problematic. Does it not?

    Also, does the idea of a government “Committee on Scientific Dishonesty” seem a little Orwellian to anyone else? Seems like it might be used as a tool to attack conclusions not favored by the state. Not that that’s what happened in this case or anything. I’m sure that this smear job was just….

  31. Brett:

    At the risk of undermining your paper-thin credibility, here are the full definitions of the term vindicate.

    From Merriam-Webster:

    Main Entry: vin?di?cate
    Pronunciation: ‘vin-d&-“kAt
    Function: transitive verb
    Inflected Form(s): -cat?ed; -cat?ing
    Etymology: Latin vindicatus, past participle of vindicare to lay claim to, avenge, from vindic-, vindex claimant, avenger
    Date: 1570
    1 obsolete : to set free : DELIVER
    2 : AVENGE
    3 a : to free from allegation or blame b (1) : CONFIRM, SUBSTANTIATE (2) : to provide justification or defense for : JUSTIFY c : to protect from attack or encroachment : DEFEND
    4 : to maintain a right to
    synonym see EXCULPATE, MAINTAIN
    – vin?di?ca?tor /-“kA-t&r/ noun

    http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary

    From Dictionary.com:

    vin?di?cate ( P ) Pronunciation Key (vnd-kt)
    tr.v. vin?di?cat?ed, vin?di?cat?ing, vin?di?cates
    To clear of accusation, blame, suspicion, or doubt with supporting arguments or proof: ?Our society permits people to sue for libel so that they may vindicate their reputations? (Irving R. Kaufman).
    To provide justification or support for: vindicate one’s claim.
    To justify or prove the worth of, especially in light of later developments.
    To defend, maintain, or insist on the recognition of (one’s rights, for example).
    To exact revenge for; avenge.

    http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=vindicate

    Clearly my statements fall well within the accepted meanings of the term “vindicate.” The fact you were unwilling to qoute the other accepted definitions of the term tell me that you aren’t exactly honest.

  32. Brett,

    BTW, I appreciate the attempted smear job of me; too bad it blew up in your fucking face.

  33. Brett,

    Antiquis temporibus, nati tibi similes in rupibus ventosissimis exponebantur ad necem.

  34. joe,
    If I were looking to avoid falsely implying that the DCSD was endorsing Lomborg’s book, I would have written the sentence differently.

    Surley you meant: “…the Danish Science Ministry andorsing…”

    Also, we should note that many of the critics of The Skeptical Environmentalist relied on, and quoted the now repudiated DCSD report. ( I hope that this dosen’t start a debate on the meaning of “repudiate”)

  35. make that:“…the Danish Science Ministry was endorsing…” sorry about that

  36. er, yes, Danish Science Ministry. If I had wished to avoid implying that the Committee on Scientific Dishonesty had repudiated their findings, I would have removed my head from my ass before posting.

  37. Joe,

    If you had done that it would have been the first time.

  38. You mean; I’m supposed to do that before I post? What, every time?

  39. All of us? all the time?

  40. Ahem, gentlemen.

    Scientific theories are not proven, Mathematical theorems are. Scientific theories are substantiated or disconfirmed. It only ever takes one or two well-documented phenomena to bring down the old, from whose ashes a new theory arises. Examples in the history of science abound. Thus the ultraviolet catastrophe and the photoelectric effect undid classical physicists attempts to ‘tie up a few loose ends’, as it were, in electromagnetic theory, and gave rise to quantum mechanics. The Michelson (& late, Morley) experiments blew away the aether, and Einstein created Special Relativity. Etc.

    Scientific theories are not proven because we NEVER can know if some further piece of evidence will come to light and unravel the whole ball of string. This is not the case with, say Cauchy’s Theorem, or Taylor’s. Good scientists know that, however powerful their favored theories are at explaining a wide range of phenomena, they must be willing to abandon them if there is a reproducible observation set that conflicts with the theories time and again.

    Scientists are human, and their attachment to their theories can be quite strong. Bad scientists let this cloud their vision and their professional judgement.

    Joe, though I frequently agree with your posts, no scientific theory has ever been proven. Ever.

    Rick Barton, I don’t — it’s such a bother! ๐Ÿ™‚

  41. John

    You’re not reading at grade level.

    I said

    “Why does this Climate Gestapo make junk-science claims such as ‘a majority of scientists’ accept this GWT (theory!) as revealed truth, without telling us that a majority of such robotic, lockstep scientists are not climatologists?”

    If a majority of climatologists believe in GWT, say that, but, you see, that simple statement is not as impressive as saying “a majority of scientists”. This is an old trick: when one is arguing a complex position, one claims that a majority of (lawyers, sportswriters, whatever) agree with one’s position, tho most of the usual suspects who sign petitions, answer surveys, etc. have no particular expertise in the legal, sport, or here, scientific speciality involved.

    Or maybe you believe that the same talkingheads on TV are experts in all of the following: FL Election Law, Jacko, Kobe Bryant, & Iraq.

    Search the NYT for a story on textbook censorship, last year. Got that? The NYT not Fox News. (No, the NYT didn’t exactly say it was “censorship”. That only occurs on the Right as far as they are concerned). The story clearly indicated that the objectors simply wanted a sentence at the end of the deeply revential, um religious, presentation of GWT to the effect that it was a theory & that there was some disagreement from reputable scientists. The Textbook editors circled the wagons & refused. None dare call it censorship, you’d say. I’d say why not listen to ol’ Arthur Miller & be open to arguments from the other side?

    Finally, you’re resorting to junk science & unaware of how to make an analogy, not to mention desperate, when you make GWT the equivalent of Gravity. (How’d you like them apples, shall we say!)

    TomCom

  42. Jean —

    Please; the idea that my “smear job” (reality check: I was demolishing the idiocy of your contention that the Ministry necessarily needs to endorse Lomborg’s conclusions in order for him to be “vindicated”) “blew up in my fucking face” because you quoted a further-down and, thus, by convention, less common usage of the word in question, is a pretty pathetic riposte.

    Get a grip on yourself. Lomborg was cleared of charges of scientific dishonesty. “Vindication” is not the word I would have chosen to describe his situation, but it’s by no means inapt. Your petulant insistence that your preferred definition is the yardstick with which we should all measure our usage is therefore positively imbecilic.

    Oh, and by the way: if you think that rattling off a bunch of Latin impresses me, or scores you some debating points? Think again.

  43. Oh, and Jean, one other note: before you start blathering about my “paper-thin credibility”, perhaps you ought to set your own affairs in order, hm? Glass houses, and all that.

  44. To All Who Do Not Understand The Meaning of Vindication

    A man is accused of falsifying the underlying arguments leading him to have said that something is true.

    His accusers are then shown by some authority to have failed to prove their accusations.

    Conclusion: The accused has been vindicated by that authority & his accusers have been shown as fit for The Crucible.

    No one is saying that some other authority or, even his own accusers, cannot actually get off their posteriors & find some actual evidence of his alleged sins but ’til then, Lomborg’s been vindicated.

    TomCom

  45. Brett,

    The only thing that you demolished was your credibility. As to petulance, well that’s your modus operandi, not mine: I’m not the one insisting that there is only one way too look at what Bailey said, you are. The fact that you selectively qouted from the dictionary is demonstration of that.

    TomCom,

    There are multiple meanings of the term vindication; my position on the matter is perfectly reasonable given the ambiguity of original statement.

  46. Look how humans have affected other plantets too:

    http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/nr/2002/pluto.html

    We are not just trashing the earth we are damaging other plantets too.

  47. TomCom

    My reading level has nothing to do with the question I asked of you. You can’t counter the statement that a majority of climatologists concur with GWT. That it’s not just the climatologists in the scientific community that understand the theory and think it’s valid is why it is worded the way it is.

    The censorship story is about the religious right in Texas trying to get into schools. They feel that Global Warming is anti-free enterprise and anti-Christian and got it completely banned. The same group lobbied for getting creationism to be taught next to evolution. They reduced coverage of civil rights and slavery. They got a picture of a woman holding a briefcase removed because they thought it undermined “family values.” Maybe you’re on something else.

    The evidence against GWT is not enough to dismiss it. The models need work, but the fundamentals of physics are hard to ignore. Lomborg has an agenda in his writing and that’s probably what triggered the initial emotional response from the Ministry.

    A scientific theory is something specific and that was my point.

  48. Any chance that this star chamber will spring Galileo?

  49. The DCSD attack on Lomborg was headlined around the world; I wonder if this repudiation will make the front pages of the newspapers?

    As we all know, the New York Times and every other major North American newspaper ran the initial decision above the fold in 72-point type for three straight weeks. So if this new decision gets run as an item in the science section or deep inside the “A” section, a horrible injustice will have been done.

  50. What, the New York Times commit a horrible injustice? Nah, that would NEVER happen.

  51. It will receive no attention whatsoever unless the press can somehow link the report to missing white girls, celebrity infidelities, “Survivor” tell-alls or the handfull of other truly important issues we Americans are able to grasp.

    If the iceberg DOESN’T melt, we don’t want to hear about it.

  52. mycal:
    “We are not just trashing the earth we are damaging other plantets too.”

    Actually, The planet is not being trashed, its getting cleaner; air, emissions per unit of GDP, water (all body classes), oil spills; all getting better. see: Its Getting Better All the Time : 100 Greatest Trends of the Last 100 YearsSec. XIV by Stephen Moore and Julian
    Simon

    see also:GLOBAL WARMING AND OTHER ECO-MYTHS :How the Environmental Movement Uses False Science to Scare Us to Death
    edited by Ronald Bailey

  53. Jean —

    Let’s make this simple. Above, you say:

    BTW, Lomborg’s work was not “vindicated;” it appears it was his detractor’s work that was plowed under.

    In my universe, where we are conversing in English rather than that strange dialect known as Jean Bart-ese, your above statement is what is known as a non-sequitor. The matter at hand is not the validity of Lomborg’s conclusions; the matter at hand is the DCSD’s a priori labelling of those conclusions as scientific dishonesty. This is abundantly clear from the very first paragraph of Mr. Bailey’s original posting; there is no implication to the contrary.

    Given that the Danish Science Ministry has repudiated the DCSD’s allegations, Lomborg has indeed been vindicated of those allegations, according to any the dictionary definitions that either you or I have supplied. Whether Lomborg’s work stands up to rigorous scientific scrutiny is an entirely different question, notwithstanding your efforts to muddy the waters.

    Despite all of this, you are of course free to continue to object to the perfectly correct and appropriate use of the word “vindicated” to describe the situation.

    I, on the other hand, shall waste no more of my time counseling you against wearing your asshat out in public.

    Have a pleasant evening.

  54. From the press release:
    The Ministry finds that the DCSD judgment was not backed up by documentation, and was “completely void of argumentation” for the claims of dishonesty and lack of good scientific practice…The Ministry characterises the DCSD’s treatment of the case as “dissatisfactory”, “deserving criticism” and “emotional” and points out a number of significant errors.

    A wonderful victory for science and possibly, eventually; freedom!

    Government money can even wreck science. The environmental industry’s unwarranted negative reaction to Bj?rn Lomborg’s book, as expressed by various committees and in different scientific organs may be understood as one of interest in obtaining government funding skewing honest scientific appraisal.

    If the environmental “problems” are not so large, (a throughput of Lomborg’s thesis) then neither is the need to spend tax dollars.

    Folks who were dissuaded from buying this engaging, well reasoned book by the unfair smears such as the now repudiated DSCD smear, may want purchase it now:

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0521010683/reasonmagazinea-20/

  55. John:
    There’s a formula called “I=PAT.” I stands for impact, P for population, A for affluence, and T for technology. You are putting all your hope in T, which is Simon’s substitutability.

    There is accumulating evidence that increasing technology and affluence are making for a cleaner world. We may thank the world move toward capitalism for the step up in technology and wealth. (that’s another thread, I guess)

    “The evidence against GWT is not enough to dismiss it.”

    But, it’s not looking good and there is evidence that warming is due to the sun being more active then it has been for a thousand years and not human activity.

    http://www.newscientist.com/hottopics/climate/climate.jsp?id=ns99994321

    It was baffling before, since a more active sun shows more sun spots, which are cooler. But as it turns out, the energy total from the whole sun
    during these solar active periods is increased and the energy increase in the non-sun spot areas more then make up for the greater number of sun spots.

    So, there is no way that GWT can justify coercive government action. But you can bet this science won’t give pause to the pro-Kyoto crowd. If we did consent to restrictive controls on humanity, you can imagine a writer, a thousand years from now: “How sad. Those primitive people of the 21st century adapted government regulations which resulted in lowered living standards in the affluent parts of their world and significantly shortened life spans in the poorer regions, all because they misread solar phenomena and acted on that misreading.

  56. John:
    “Lomborg has an agenda in his writing and that’s probably what triggered the initial emotional response from the Ministry.”

    Agenda? He the held up the widely held beliefs that the global environment is progressively getting worse to statistical scrutiny and found those beliefs to be wanting. It’s called Science.
    The DCSD didn’t like his findings. It would be bad enough if it was just an “emotional” response, but I think you give them far too much credit.

  57. Look. I’m getting a headache. Can somebody please tell me if I need more sunscreen? Anyone?

  58. You obviously prefer to color my view as extreme by putting words in my mouth to help you out. I never proposed anything drastic.

    All I’ve said is that if it’s true, it’s not worth gambling everything. Being more cautious is warrented.

    You want to read science one way. “Hey a few scientists haven’t bought GWT yet, it must be false!”

    Tomcom,

    Hmmm, Nice way to put words in my mouth. I never said anything about Texans in general. Lying seems to be your agenda. It’s easy to point to plenty of articles about who censored what.

    http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/0722/p03s01-ussc.htm
    http://www.cse.org/informed/issues_template.php?issue_id=1122
    http://hnn.us/articles/922.html

    I suggest you all not read those articles and ignore THE MAJORITY OF SCIENTISTS (heh) because the thought of actually being responsible and that your actions could have negative consequences is too much for you all to bear.

  59. Mercury,

    Too bad that version does not reflect the facts.

    Rick,

    The Sun spot activity is very recent.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/climatechange/story/0,12374,1109374,00.html
    Hmmm.

    M. Simon,

    Actually, GW is making the winters colder and the summers hotter. The real damage is showing up to those on the edge-for now.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0%2C3604%2C1104241%2C00.html

    But hey, you all can choose whomever you wish to listen to that fits your comfort zone.

  60. ok — we all know what it meant, and we see what others mean — it doesn’t make his book gospel truth, after all — but ‘vindicated’ of charges he was, and that’s a fact. such semantic silliness — admit small misunderstandings, people!

    now: my attempt at a fair analysis of global warming.

    it may exist. i’ve yet to see for myself substantial evidence of any variation in global mean temperatures in data that rise to the standard of worrisome, and for that reason i can’t say i’ve seen proof. diminished glaciers occur in some areas, but growing glaciers in others — this evidence is anecdotal and not statistically meaningful, as i’ve seen it presented. changing salinities are part of a mechanism that is not at all understood, and therefore constitute no proof of anything (and i don’t think anyone here is saying it does). the data that is most pertinent, the measured sets of actual temperature data — as has been said many times — do not show anything like catastrophic warming, and variations seen are of a magnitude well within natural variation, i.e. noise, it seems to me.

    does that mean it isn’t or can’t happen? of course not. it only means that the temperature trend is still in significant doubt. if someone can present me the proof that sways me one way or the other, please do so — i have an open mind.

    far more contentious than that, however, is the arrogant presumption by certain climatologists that they *understand* the climate well enough to take such tenuous data and divine root causes and future catastrophe. NO HUMAN BEING UNDERSTANDS THE EARTH’S CLIMATE. it is too vast a system, too poorly studied and measured for too short a time, too weakly modeled to be understood in the slightest. even if a warming trend is underway, no climatologist can tell you why — human interaction, solar activity or moonbeams — any better than a priest. someday, that will be different — but this is now. to claim to understand what’s happening to the extent that hyperexpensive civilization-altering decisions should be made based on such conclusions is fraudulent at best.

    in my opinion, catastrophic global warming mythology (as opposed to the nascent study of climatology, which is science) fits a popular human storyline — call it ‘armageddon’, although that is not its only name. this story appears again and again in human culture: ‘sinners repent, before you meet your doom at your own hand.’ it seems to me that the fact that global warming resonates with this transcendent story has given it far more credence than it would otherwise have. there’s something compelling about the end of the world that inspires mythology. but belief in it at this point, it seems to me, is no more than that.

  61. “Hey a few scientists haven’t bought GWT yet, it must be false!”

    of course, the converse is equally ridiculous. and i’m sure you’ll relieve me of the ardor of listing the thousands of concepts once popularly held as inviolate by the learned — or worse, by mankind generally — that are now obviously ridiculous.

    again, that doesn’t mean it can’t happen (why am i on eggshells all the time about this? learned behavior, i suppose….)

  62. John

    You’re not arguing at grade level. Ad hominem.

    You’re resorting to the deeply held belief, um, theory, held by some Crucible-like thinkers in the Northeast, with an agenda, that “Texans are robotic Christians & must be dismissed out of hand.” Try to stay focused & forget your agenda.

    The NYT censorship story is about censorship. Not censorship by the VRWC but by the textbook & educational establishment. The textbook agenda of “let’s hear it for chicken-little GWT with not a discouraging word” won out. The reasonable sentence at the end about GWT having some reputable opposition was banned. Censorship by the Left. PBS: revise your Arthur Miller lecture. John: get your facts straight.

    And you want to change the subject. I don’t want to “dismiss” GWT as you want to dismiss any opposition. I just want you to take a deep breath & open your mind to what other experts are saying & to, in your own words, wait ’til your guys do some more “work” on the “models”, before I embrace your theory & before we are forced to embrace the wild & crazy remedies proposed by some proponents who are panicking over their oversimplified understanding of how GWT affects us. Some GWT evangelists want others (not themselves, of course) to live in a stone age. Get yourself a cold one from the fridge, a modern marvel the GWT freaks want to keep from the Third World poor, it seems, said cold one having been made safe by science, thru a machine which probably caused some pollution…. God what’s a concerned eco freak to do?

    Finally, you’re babbling: What the heck does your statement that “a scientific theory is something specific” add to the debate? I get it: you’re an alchemist; you can make a theory a fact. Sorry, in the end it’s still a theory, stupid, to coin a phrase. Or as you yourself note, there’s some, um, specific “work” to be done on the “models”.

    Keep trying, but stop panicking & stick to the facts.

    TomCom

    PS To Not Weishaupt:

    You do not need any sunscreen if your life consists only of cocktail parties in the evening on the Upper West Side, Georgetown, or Cambridge.

    TC

  63. Interesting exchange. It seems that the posters in this exchange wander from the point. BL was condemned for daring to disagree with established thought. Although he provided hundreds of footnotes and other supporting data, his work was condemned for “sloppy” science. it seems that those who officially condemned him based their rebuke, not on sound science, but letters in Scientific American and Time magazine. The august panel has been summarily rebuked for sloppy and unscientific work. They have also been told that they need adult supervision on sound science. Whether BL is correct is a matter for serious discussion and some sound science. However, in the new religion of global environmentalism, it seems that we rely on faith and are not swayed by the facts. We must attack those who may suggest that the emperor has no clothes, we do not engage in serious scientific study.

    It is difficult to doubt that there is global climate change. It’s been going on for millions of years. It is difficult to doubt that we are in a period of global warming. This seems to have been going on for about 10,000 years.

    The debate is whether emissions of carbon dioxide from manmade sources is radically altering the climate. Those who tout the end of of the world because of our use of fossil fuels glibly ignore a few facts: (1) none of the models even bother to account for water vapor, which is the most potent greenhouse chemical and make up about 97% of the greenhouse gasses; (2) with all the ruckus about carbon dioxide, it is very difficult to find any published data on the percentage of anthropogenic CO2 of the entire emissions of CO2; (3) the models can’t predict the climate for the last 20 years when the data are well known; (4)the statistical analysis used by Mann has been called into question and he has not made a serious response to the question; (5) the IPCC itself, other than in the executive summary, seems to express some doubt about the validity of models and the predictions; (6) anyone who casts doubts about GWT is in the pay of big business or big oil; (7) no one questions the integrity of those who are at the multibillion trough of funds to find global warming (do you suppose they would continue to be funded if they didn’t find anthropogenic global warming?)

    The new eco-religion attacks anyone who does not toe the dogmatic line. I am part of the agnostics. Prove it with rigorous science or stop telling me the end of the world is at hand.

  64. “The evidence against GWT is not enough to dismiss it.”

    Put another way

    The evidence for GWT is not nearly enough for it to be accepted.

    ENJOY

  65. Increasing salinity in the tropics, decreasing salinity in the polar regions.

    http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2003/12/18/saltier_atlantic_may_help_decipher_global_warming

    Then again, the excess fresh water at the poles could just be the ice caps melting. Anyone know if there have been any disintegrations of long-stable ice shelfs in the past couple of years?

  66. Global Warming Climate Models:

    They can’t even predict the past. Why anyone relies on them for predicting the future is beyond me.

    But hey when the coming of a global ice age was predicted a few years ago (1980s I have the book) I was really depressed. I live in Illinois.

    Global warming sounds like a good idea to me.

  67. Above there is a pointer to an MIT story about Pluto’s thickening and warming atmosphere, a story the poster supposes to reinforce the notion that humans are trashing this planet and have a reach that even extends that trashing to the ninth planet. The story contains nothing about human influence on the Plutonian environment, of course; even a very, very brief moment’s reflection will reveal the idea to be almost boundlessly silly.

  68. If anything, the Plutonian arguement would lead me toward investigating a very opposite conclusion about human influence…

    Mycal was, perhaps, being facetious?

  69. “The models need work, but the fundamentals of physics are hard to ignore.”

    John: Indeed. Which makes the claims by the IPCC and its various groupies (or “political scientists”, as I like to call them) that solar forcing has little or no effect on global climate really, really bizarre…

    BTW, think of me in 2013 when the next Little Ice Age has well and truly begun; I’ll be thinking of you and your ilk, and laughing my ass off…

  70. Back in the summer of 1988, when most of the US had extreme heat and drought, the talk of “global warming” started. Predictably, the people were the same ones who were alarmed about a man-made “Ice Age” ten years earlier, when the northeast had three severe winters in a row.

    I doubt that Lomborg’s rehabilitation will receive equal billing with the slagging. I must praise his courage in the face of this, particularly given his left-wing background.

  71. As for me, having actually read “The Skeptical Environmentalist” I would have to concur that the reaction to it was hysterical and reminiscent of a Medieval witch hunt.

    I’m boycotting Scientific American (they’re probably shaking in their shoes at this announcement – not). I never thought I’d see the day when a scientific investigator was compared to a Holocaust denier in a learned academic journal. Or that the person accused was given no space to reply to the blatent falsehoods published. Or that the journal threatened legal action when that person tried to publish the accusations and his full responses point-by-point.

    I wait for the day when SciAm apologizes to Lomborg in this matter. But I’m not holding my breath.

  72. EMAIL: draime_2000@yahoo.com
    IP: 62.213.67.122
    URL:
    DATE: 01/25/2004 05:08:40
    Some things cannot be taught, only discovered.

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