25 Inconvenient Truths for Gore?

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Six weeks after its release, Al Gore's global warming horror movie, An Inconvenient Truth, has grossed more than $12 million at the box office. In my review of the movie, I pointed to a number of exaggerations made by Gore, but agreed with him that the scientific case for man-made global warming is solid.

The accompanying book of the same title briefly hit the top spot on the New York Times list of paperback non-fiction bestsellers, but has now dropped to the number 2 slot. For the delectation of Reason Online readers, I want to bring to your attention Competitive Enterprise Institute senior fellow Iain Murray's interesting and highly critical review of the Gore book over at National Review Online. (I would have done so earlier, but I was away on vacation and beyond the reach of the internet.)

As I have previously disclosed (see also my profile at Exxonsecrets): I was the 1993 Warren Brookes Fellow in Environmental Journalism at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and I have been the editor of three CEI volumes on environmental policy and science. I also dine and go drinking with CEI staff members from time to time and we usually split the check.

Further Disclosure: Whoops. I forgot to mention that I own a small amount of ExxonMobil stock and that some of my West Virginia relatives were coal miners.

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  1. Isn’t Iain Murray the same man who came up with the claim that Gore was producing more CO2 then the state of Kentucky?

  2. Ron, really. People like us need to STFU on global warming for a bit. We were wrong. And we were wrong for the worst reason: because we didn’t want it to be true. That counsels humility. It DOESN’T counsel recycling the fallback spin of shills.

  3. Halcyon: A quick googling found that you are evidently referring to this Deltoid post about this. I’ll check into it and get back to the blog with what I find out. Thanks for the heads up. Nevertheless, Murray’s review is interesting, especially some of the science links.

  4. Jim Henley: I understand your call for humility, but can’t agree. It is true that one’s (OK my credibility) to write and report on GW will be called into question by the fact that I have been highly skeptical of the claims being made by activists concerning the seriousness of GW. (I remind you that those claims were made years before the data supporting them were firm.)Why was I so skeptical? Because of environmental activists have a decades long history of alarmism and exaggeration.

    In any case, I have been following the scientific literature on climate fairly closely for the last 15 years. Most specifically, I am highly skeptical of computer models (see economic models and Limits to Growth) and relied a great deal (perhaps too much in retrospect) on the empirical findings of the satellite researchers John Christy and Roy Spencer which showed very mild warming. Now that their data have been corrected there is very little question that man-made GW is a fact. BTW, the severity of future warming is still very much an open question and that will certainly determine the urgency of any policy response that needs to be made. Also, just because Gore turns out to be generally right on the science does not mean that he is necessarily right on policy. That debate between (crudely delineated) centralizers versus marketeers still needs to be engaged.

    Finally, I have known Iain and the folks over at CEI for almost two decades–and while I don’t expect you to take my word for it–I must insist that while they may be wrong on the science (read his review and decide yourself) and they may be tone deaf in trying to communicate their views, they are NOT shills.

  5. Ron, really. People like us need to STFU on global warming for a bit. We were wrong. And we were wrong for the worst reason: because we didn’t want it to be true. That counsels humility.

    It is rare that such a thing is written. Jim Henley, you have my deepest respect.

  6. It would be ice if the article used exact quotes from Gore’s book, instead of listing page numbers. It’s hard to tell if they are being fair and in context from just a page number of a book, the article reader likely doesn’t have and won’t get…given the audience.

  7. Everytime I see Ron Bailey mention his stocks, I wonder one thing: how the hell can a journalist afford to buy stock? Hell, I can barely afford food.

  8. I suspect if Al Gore were to stop blowing so much hot air, that alone would solve the global warming problem.

  9. Sorry Ron, but how are they not shills? They are paid by energy companies to argue against anthropogenic global warming. This doesn’t mean that they are wrong on the science (though they are). And it’s not as if CEI doesn’t have a track record here. Look at, for example, thier efforts working for tobacco companies against the FDA.

  10. Tim Lambert: Have you ever considered the possibility that “money follows opinions” not necessarily the other way around?

  11. What I mean by ‘context’ I can give an example for with their number 5:

    “Satellite temperature measurements say that 2005 wasn’t the hottest year on record ? 1998 was ? and that temperatures have been stable since 2001 (p.73). Here?s the satellite graph:”

    great they give us a graph which shows 1998 as being the warmer year. But they don’t show that 1998 was an El Ni?o year (which conflates warming) and that 2005 wasn’t an El Ni?o year…which means ’05 was indeed a genuinely warmer year. A smoothed out trend line would have been more informative tot he average joe, but useless to the articles authors.

    There are other context ommisions like this that the pro-warmer side will use to shred the deniers.

  12. Halcyon: Looking further into the matter of Iain Murray allegedly claiming that Al Gore produces more CO2 than Kentucky, it’s pretty clear that “claim” comes from this satirical video (it’s not serious–it’s exaggerating in an attempt to make a point). You might also enjoy this satirical CEI video as well.

  13. I suspect if Al Gore were to stop blowing so much hot air, that alone would solve the global warming problem.

    Ha! Good one.

    My problem with Al Gore is that he looks like an overweight Vulcan.

  14. “Everytime I see Ron Bailey mention his stocks, I wonder one thing: how the hell can a journalist afford to buy stock?”

    Every time I see Ron Bailey mention his stocks, I recall his colleagues Steve Milloy and Michael Fumento. It wasn’t the stock ownership that made them corrupt shills, but the checks made out to them by the companies they were defending in print.

    Just out of curiosity, do Reason staffers get a cut of donations they generate for the Reason Institute.

  15. Why was I so skeptical? Because of environmental activists have a decades long history of alarmism and exaggeration.

    And if alarmist environmental activists were the only ones who ever talked about global warming, that would be a compelling defense, I think. But I daresay there came a point where your thought process went something like this: “Greenpeace (which I’m using here as shorthand for enviro-nuts) thinks global warming is real, so whenever I hear a scientist argue the reality of global warming I will assume he’s from Greenpeace.”

    I’t like somebody thirty years ago saying “the first ones to say smoking is unhealthy were finger-waggling moralists, so I will now assume that every doctor who speaks out about the health problems of smoking is a finger-waggling moralist. This doctor here, the one paid by the tobacco companies, says stuff more in line with what I want to hear.”

    And I hesitate to point this out, but the guys currently saying “global warming probably won’t be a big deal” were the exact same ones who until recently argued “global warming isn’t real at all.” Remember your complaint about a long history of alarmism and exaggeration? Well, I have a similar problem believing a group with a long history of denying inconvenient facts.

  16. But Number 6, Al Gore emits that hot air from his body, as part of his metabolic processes. Ergo, it cannot possibly be pollution.

    Mr. Henley, as someone who has spent the last decade Essing Tea Eff You about welfare reform policy, I salute you.

    Mr. Bailey, “It is true that one’s (OK my credibility) to write and report on GW will be called into question by the fact that I have been highly skeptical of the claims being made by activists concerning the seriousness of GW. (I remind you that those claims were made years before the data supporting them were firm.)Why was I so skeptical? Because of environmental activists have a decades long history of alarmism and exaggeration…” reads almost exactly like The New Republic’s explanation of why people who were wrong about the Iraqi WMD threat, and who based their policy recommendations on that threat, were adopting the only responsible, serious position anyone could possible take.

    You didn’t just state that the studies were “not yet firm” – you spent a decade defaming those who turned out to right as biased, corrupt, and ideological.

  17. buendia,

    Perhaps you should ask yourself why you confused “left leaning political activists” with the vast majority of climate scientists.

  18. sam: In An Inconvenient Truth, Gore does not give a context to the claim that 2005 is the warmest year ever. See trailer. Actually there are a number of different data series which show that 2005 was the warmest and others (cited by Murray) that show that it was not. Gore might have said something like: “According to some temperature data series 2005 was the warmest year ever recorded except for 1998 which was a huge El Nino year.” But my guess is that that was not dramatic enough for the movie.

  19. “And anyone still arguing for the Top Down model just shut his eyes during the 20th century.”

    I am curious as to where Al Gore states in his book that the best mode of coping is a ‘command and control’ model?

    From what I remember in the movie, it was mostly jsut personal responsibility stuff. Gore makes a big point that he is trying to make things happen by convince the populace…since he tried and failed to convince politcians directly.

    oh and Leftists didn’t just pull the idea of Global Warming out of the blue, it’s been around for a while and wasn’t ever really the property of the leftists…no matter how much it has been painted as such. Evidence:
    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/timeline.htm

  20. “Greenpeace (which I’m using here as shorthand for enviro-nuts) thinks global warming is real, so whenever I hear a scientist argue the reality of global warming I will assume he’s from Greenpeace.”

    No, it’s more like this. “Greenpeace and similar groups’ predictions on environmental issues, resource depletion, and other issues, has mostly turned out to be wrong. Now they’re saying they’re confident that global warming is real. Forgive me for at least being initially skeptical but if they were almost never right before, why should I be so quick to conclude they are right this time?” I can’t speak for Bailey, but that’s how I would react. I too have come around to reality of global warming but I was skeptical mostly because such groups have usually been wrong not just on evidence, but much more importantly how to act on that evidence.

  21. In An Inconvenient Truth, Gore does not give a context to the claim that 2005 is the warmest year ever. See trailer. Actually there are a number of different data series which show that 2005 was the warmest and others (cited by Murray) that show that it was not.

    I haven’t seen the movie and I doubt I will. But: I remember looking at some creationist website that was desperately trying to prove that every single word in the Bible is accurate (despite voluminous evidence to the contrary).

    It quoted a poetic Bible verse from some book like Psalms or Ecclesiastes, that says something like “as the stars in the sky are countless, so too is the power of God.” And the website actually claimed “Scientists now say that the universe is infinite, which therefore proves that the Bible writer who talked about the ‘countless stars’ MUST have had access to divine knowledge since no human at the time could possibly have known that the number of stars is infinite!”

    Honestly, Ron Bailey, I do not mean this to sound insulting or rude, but . . . you’re kinda starting to remind me of that website, just a bit. You know, focus on the tree and hope people overlook the forest?

  22. Ron,
    The article is about the book, not the movie.

    Does the book give the context?

    And even if it doesn’t, why don’t the authors of the article give such improtant context?

  23. This thread makes it sound like Bailey was a Holocaust denier instead of someone who was skeptical of global warming because of conflicting evidence.

  24. Forgive me for at least being initially skeptical but if they were almost never right before, why should I be so quick to conclude they are right this time?”

    Because it wasn’t just Greenpeace–it was a lot of scientists with no political connections at all, but they all were tarred with the lefty brush by people like you.

    Remember–we’re not talking about people who denied global warming back in the 70s or early 80s. We’re talking about folks who were denying it as late as last year.

  25. Greenpeace was far from the only source sounding the alarm about Global Warming. The National Science Council has been warning about it for years. The overwhelming majority of climate scientiests, ditto.

    Your concern about Greenpeace’s credibility made you reject the statements made by the most credible, most informed, most reliable sources, simply because Greenpeace agreed with them. And Ron Bailey has spent the better part of a decade working to take advantage of that logical failure.

  26. Have you ever considered the possibility that “money follows opinions” not necessarily the other way around?

    What, so if the CEI lost all of its industry funding, the folks who generate all those “reports” would just go on doing it on a blog with a PayPal donation button? Mmeh.

    At least Jim Helney is a mensch, but then I’ve respected him for some time now. You, on the other hand, are just fishing around for a new angle from which to advocate for inaction and create FUD now that industry-backed “alternative science” no longer cuts it.

    One difference between a science writer and “Reason’s Science Correspondent” is that science writers try to get at scientific truth and might then propose debatable policy, and you start with a policy goal and throw whatever you can find at it, however flimsy it might be.

  27. AC,

    I think it makes him seem more like a Creationist.

    Particularly since most of the “conflicting data” in both instances consists of “God of the Gaps” reasoning, and is only remotely compelling to someone already determined to believe it.

  28. Wow, Ron Bailey could write the book on confirmation bias. Keeping the indeology intact is the important thing, eh Ron?

  29. Is it just me, or does it seem that both Mr. Murray and Mr. Gore start from the point of what they want to believe, and then find evidence to support the position they have already wanted to be true?

    This is what I see as the biggest problem in this discussion.

    Is either man correct? Probably not, but they have proven their partisan credentials are correct. And the truth?

    I might listen to Mr. Murray it he also pointed to where Mr. Gore is correct. I might listen to Mr. Gore if he were to seperate things by “probability” of correctness/incorrectness, after all, some of the theory about GW is correct, and some is not.

    In reality, neither puts forth an argument that is not political. I’m looking for arguments that are scientific in nature, and politics, while comforting to the faithful, has little attraction to me while looking for answers.

    Pity I seem to be one of the few that has felt this way since I first saw a certain NASA researcher on C-span so long ago.

  30. joe: In my reporting on global warming politics and science I have spent some time in pointing out the biased, corrupt and ideological motives of environmentalist activists on the issue. As for “attacking” climate scientists, I don’t think you’ll find that I have done much of that. I have pointed out the biases and ideological commitments of activist scientists (stress on “activist”) such as Stephen Schneider, Michael Oppenheimer, Paul Ehrlich and the like.

    I, obviously, regret not having come sooner to the conclusion that man-made global warming is occurring.

    BTW, joe, would you care to say for what organization you work, what stocks you own, and to what activist groups you contribute?

    Jennifer: Let’s see–now that I’ve come to the conclusion that the bulk of the science indicates that man-made global warming is a real phenomenon, I must also come to the conclusion that it’s a terrible disaster and we’re all doomed?

  31. Particularly since most of the “conflicting data” in both instances consists of “God of the Gaps” reasoning, and is only remotely compelling to someone already determined to believe it.

    Considering there was solid science behind the conflicting evidence, your analogy doesn’t hold. I didn’t think the satellite data undermined GW, but I could see how reasonable minds could reach that conclusion (unlike “God of the Gaps” evidence). Waiting for conflicting data to be resolved seems like good science, but perhaps you’re a better scientist than me.

  32. “I think it makes him seem more like a Creationist.”

    Ooh that’s probably too harsh. Myabe ture for most hard core climate change deniers, but Mr. Bailey is capable of using reason to change his mind based on what he sees as new facts/understandings. Creationsists don’t change.

  33. Ron B: “Now that their data have been corrected there is very little question that man-made GW is a fact.”

    A bit of a leap of logic there, no? Even if you consider global warming a fact, what makes it so resoundingly ‘man-made’?

  34. Since there seems to be some significant amount of criticism direct at the staff of Reason in this thread, I’d like to do the opposite, and say a nice thing about Jacob Sullum.

    If you want junk science debunked, and you want a Reason staff writer to do it, Jacob Sullum is perfect for the job. He’s great at spotting internal contradictions, utilizing logic and common sense when they will suffice, citing detailed studies when necessary, and acknowledging the factual basis of his opponents’ arguments (if there is a factual basis) while making principled arguments against their proposed remedy. Not to mention a writing style that is usually sober (um, OK, bad word choice…. πŸ™‚ and reasonable, rarely breathless and hyperbolic, and always enjoyable. Really, when it comes to debunking junk science, you can’t go wrong with Jacob Sullum.

    Strangely enough, he was assigned to the hallucinogenics beat. Hmm….

  35. People like us need to STFU on global warming for a bit. We were wrong. And we were wrong for the worst reason: because we didn’t want it to be true. That counsels humility.

    We were not wrong because we didn’t want it to be true any more than a Greenpeace member was right because he wanted it to be true. We were wrong because it turned out to be true.

    We were not wrong to be skeptical and to distrust – and continue to distrust – the activists and politicians distorting and propagandizing the science.

    In the face of people pulling predictions of severity out of their asses (sorry, the high ends of wide ranges of global warming predictions) and demanding massive regulation in order to try to abate that…what is humility going to do for us?

    Will it give former skeptics more credibility? No, it will take them out of the debate, and they’ll never get back in. What if they’ve lost it already? Well, what will shutting up and leaving the other side to say what it likes unquestioned gain us?

  36. Bob: We must all be aware of confirmation bias.

    All: Creationist, holocaust denier? I guess I’ll just have to take it. And when did I stop beating my wife? Sigh.

  37. Ron Bailey,

    Pay no attention to those villagers with pitchforks and torches. πŸ™‚

  38. I still like you, Ron Bailey.

  39. Not that anyone cares, but here’s my thought history with the global warming case.

    Initial claims of a non cyclical warming trend were not based on very good evidence. The computer models had no way to be tested and didn’t predict much of anything. Initially I was skeptical that the whole process was occurring.

    The disagreement with satellite data seemed pretty significant to me. The resolution of this discrepancy and the convergence of different types of tests toward a common trend (tree rings meshing with glaciers, for example) leaves me believing that anthropogenic gw is a real effect.

    In retrospect, I have to ask myself if I’m comfortable being a late comer. It may be just a self defense mechanism, but I think I am. I’m a skeptic in the mold of Hume. I may have inclinations in one direction or another, but a call to action based on scientific evidence has to be a pretty strong case. The humility I need to take from this lies in to whatever extent I have assumed motives on the part of GW researchers. I’d like to think I wasn’t bad on that front in public discussions, but I certainly had my share of doubts when the tarring of Bjorn Lumbourg came about. The lesson is equally applicable to all comers in this debate – argument from assumed motives is a mistake.

    In any event, I still agree with Ron that skepticism about the occurence of man made global warming is entirely separate from the skepticism about any given remedy or the cost benefit calculation. I have seen no converging notions about how much CO2 reduction will be required to affect average temperatures, nor have I seen concrete notions of what the scope of the problem will be over a given time frame. Humility requires extra skepticism (in the philosophical sense) and not extra faith.

    There is a real danger here. Some of the steps we are being asked to take are truly remarkable. As I’ve said before, what we do know for certain is that economic growth is the greatest engine for improving the human condition ever devised. To the extent that proposed solutions cut growth, we should tread only with great dread.

  40. Actually Ron, these commenters are assuming that Reason, and you yourself, are intellectually and emotionally honest. With justice, in my opinion.

    So they’re asking you to step up. As you note upthread, you’ve applied yourself diligently in the past to “pointing out the biased, corrupt and ideological motives” of “environmental activists”. They’re challenging you to go just as diligently after the reasoning and motives of CEI and its fellow-travelers in the future.

    On one hand, that’s right. A science correpsondent should defend science ferociously against obscurantism coming from any direction. [Especially at a magazine called Reason!] And it’s what “Yglesias Awards” were made for. On the other hand, it sounds tough. As you also noted, the CEI guys are colleagues, friends and ideological soul-mates.

    What doesn’t make sense is to keep picking at Al Gore et al. It makes you look petty, as though you can’t get over his having been right on the big issue.

    I think this is what Henley was getting at. If you don’t have the stomach to attack the denial crowd, then silence might be best.

  41. There is absolutely nothing humble about ascribing one’s own motives to someone else; that’s arrogance.

  42. More praise for Jacob Sullum:

    Jacob Sullum knows when to acknowledge the disease and raise hard questions about the cure, and when to call bull and point to holes in the evidence concerning the disease. And when Jacob Sullum raises hard questions about the cure, he knows when to raise questions of science and efficacy, and when to object on principle.

    Jacob Sullum knows how distinguish between true junk science and stuff that he really hopes is junk science.

    I salute Jacob Sullum, and I hope that Nick Gillespie hires more people like him.

  43. Jennifer: Let’s see–now that I’ve come to the conclusion that the bulk of the science indicates that man-made global warming is a real phenomenon, I must also come to the conclusion that it’s a terrible disaster and we’re all doomed?

    No, you need not. But as I pointed out already, the ones who claim it’ll be no biggie are the same ones who until recently claimed it didn’t exist at all, but was the invention of wild-eyed tree-huggers like Stephen Hawking and the like. So I am curious: if somebody has been proven to be completely wrong, why do you still operate on the default setting that they are right? How many times could I, personally, give you mistaken information before you stop giving me the automatic benefit of the doubt?

    Basically, I am curious why you say you disbelieved GW for a long time because of the track record of some of its adherents, but you ignore the lousy track record of your own side. Confirmation bias, indeed.

  44. If you don’t have the stomach to attack the denial crowd, then silence might be best.

    Those people who refuse to accept global warming – remind me what massive regulatory regimes they’re trying to sell with apocalyptic scenarios?

    You know, every time someone makes a post here picking on some minor bit of government waste, people step up to complain that it’s unreasonable, unpragmatic, and petty to harp on some insignificant program that isn’t nearly as bad as some major government waste or abuse.

    I think demanding that Ron Bailey take time off from questioning the people who control the debate at the moment and go on a crusade against global-warming deniers in order to satisfy some people here is petty, unreasonable, and unpragmatic.

  45. I was recently talking to some researchers about earthquake retrofitting. Some government agencies put out a chunk of money to retrofit bridges, and they wanted to know how to spend it. The civil engineers recommended that the money be spent to bring all bridges up to the same standards, which meant that little would be done to interstate bridges since they were already pretty good.

    The economists recommended minimizing earthquake risks on the roads that are most heavily used. Interstate bridges should be retrofitted so there is little chance they’ll fail, while the bridge on Country Road Q won’t be replace, but would likely fall apart during a bad earthquake.

    Of course the civil engineers won the argument, because they know about bridges. And they couldn’t possibly allow any bridges to fail. So after a major earthquake has hit Memphis, and you’re going through the side roads of the middle of the country at an average speed of 2mph, please appreciate the bridge on Country Road Q.

    We don’t trust economists to do our science. Why do we trust our scientists to do economics? I’ve found that scientists are some of the most ignorant people when it comes to economics, which probably comes from the shelter of academia and the thought that economics is simpler than their discipline, and therefore is easily controlled.

    I’ve always thought that the chances that manmade global warming exist were very good. I also thought that it was totally overblown. It’s just like a number of crises throughout history — Chicken Littles were often more interested in getting power than solving problems. The problems got solved despite the Chicken Littles.

  46. But as I pointed out already, the ones who claim it’ll be no biggie are the same ones who until recently claimed it didn’t exist at all, but was the invention of wild-eyed tree-huggers like Stephen Hawking and the like

    There’s a damn big difference between skepticism and denial. Some people here are blatantly conflating the two.

  47. thoreau,

    Would you stop dancing around what you really want to say?

  48. For all their self-righteous banter about “the patriotism of dissent”, the Left demonstrates here that the only dissent they are interested in is the type that serves their own agenda. Changing your opinion – and having the gall to publicly announce it – takes guts. Bashing a man who admits he was wrong is the mark of a coward.

    You’re still ok in my book Ron.

  49. the invention of wild-eyed tree-huggers like Stephen Hawking

    And to flow in some of Ammonium’s point, who gives a damn about what a physicist specializing in cosmology says about climatology?

  50. For all their self-righteous banter about “the patriotism of dissent”, the Left demonstrates here that the only dissent they are interested in is the type that serves their own agenda. Changing your opinion – and having the gall to publicly announce it – takes guts. Bashing a man who admits he was wrong is the mark of a coward.

    You’re still ok in my book Ron.

  51. “What doesn’t make sense is to keep picking at Al Gore et al.”

    I’ll quibble a bit here. My concern about the case as presented by Gore is that it is an attack on the motives of all skeptics. The resolution of the skeptic’s arguments improved the knowledge we have rather than detracting from it. There is a world of concern wrapped into the “inconvenient” in “inconvenient truth”.

  52. There’s a damn big difference between skepticism and denial. Some people here are blatantly conflating the two.

    Broadly, I’d say “skepticism,” in regards to global warming, was roughly pre-1995 or so, whereas “denial” was post-2001.

    I don’t know about the years 1996-2000.

    But I am puzzled as to why there was so much controversy in the first place. Carbon dioxide retains atmospheric heat, yet the idea that extra carbon dioxide might be responsible for the extra atmospheric heat is being debated?

    It’s like Dave W. bleating about diabetics and fatasses–“Oh, well, the average American now eats far, far more than he used to, and never exercises, but I’m sure it is the corn syrup, not the extra calories and lack of exercise, that is to blame for the vast widening of the American ass.”

  53. Now that their data have been corrected there is very little question that man-made GW is a fact.

    No, no, no. All the NOAA report said was that the corrected data didn’t rule out man-made global warming.

    That is still a long way from saying that the data proves man-made global warming. The NOAA report doesn’t address causation at all, as far as I can tell.

    We don’t understand the natural carbon cycle, we don’t understand what caused the innumerable pre-industrial warming and cooling periods, we don’t understand how all the variables (water vapor, particulates, solar activity) affect climate.

    Somehow, the planet managed innumerable warming trends before we starting burning hydrocarbons. That any significant part of the current warming trend is the result of human activity is a long way from being a proven “fact”.

  54. Ron Bailey:

    In my reporting on global warming politics and science I have spent some time in pointing out the biased, corrupt and ideological motives of environmentalist activists on the issue.

    And what of the biased corrupt and ideological motives of the CEI?

  55. Tim L.: If CEI was shilling for big tobacco, it wouldn’t be filing suit against the MSA.

  56. Wake me when Gore makes a movie explaining why Mars is warming up.

  57. Broadly, I’d say “skepticism,” in regards to global warming, was roughly pre-1995 or so, whereas “denial” was post-2001.

    And what do you base those definitions on?

  58. So I am curious: if somebody has been proven to be completely wrong, why do you still operate on the default setting that they are right? How many times could I, personally, give you mistaken information before you stop giving me the automatic benefit of the doubt?

    The problem (as I think you recognize) is that this cuts both ways. The skeptics have been right fairly consistently, and wrong once, on this important issue (and the one we’re currently discussing). The alarmists have been wrong fairly consistently, and correct once, on this issue. The mainstream climate scientists I’m happy to listen to (I decided global warming was a real phenomenon starting about a year ago, becoming more sure over the past year). But the alarmists in general, and Al Gore specifically, have a bad enough track record that I’ll tend to discount their claims, especially the more extreme.

    As best I can tell (I confess to not being a terribly avid follower of the literature), the consensus is that temperatures are rising, probably at a rate between .1 and .15 degrees per decade. If that’s what Gore’s saying, or whatever he’s saying is closer to the literature than I am, I’m impressed and more power to him. If he’s saying something more alarmist than the literature, I’m inclined to be skeptical. Either way, he’s not where I’d go for my information.

  59. “Those people who refuse to accept global warming – remind me what massive regulatory regimes they’re trying to sell with apocalyptic scenarios?”

    They’re selling the status quo, with “apocalytic screnarios” of the costs of change. And so far they have the President, both houses of Congress, and the world’s largest companies with them, all based on weak-or-worse science.

    Sounds like a ripe topic for a science journalist into “questioning the people who control the debate”, and exploring their motives. Don’t you think?

  60. [i]”Those people who refuse to accept global warming – remind me what massive regulatory regimes they’re trying to sell with apocalyptic scenarios?”[/i]

    [i]They’re selling the status quo, with “apocalytic screnarios” of the costs of change.[/i]

    So, you’re saying “they’re not”. They’re resisting questionable regulation for the wrong reasons. Why should someone working for a libertarian magazine spend time addressing [i]that[/i] position beyond throwing out a footnote or sidebar saying, “Yeah, they’re wrong, despite being on our side of the debate”?

  61. Or, more readably:

    “Those people who refuse to accept global warming – remind me what massive regulatory regimes they’re trying to sell with apocalyptic scenarios?”

    They’re selling the status quo, with “apocalytic screnarios” of the costs of change.

    So, you’re saying “they’re not”. They’re resisting questionable regulation for the wrong reasons. Why should someone working for a libertarian magazine spend time addressing that position beyond throwing out a footnote or sidebar saying, “Yeah, they’re wrong, despite being on our side of the debate”?

  62. Jennifer,

    The end of respectable skepticism of the climate science probably was the correction of the upper atmosphere temperatures in 2005. There were problems with both the radiosonde and MSU data analysis that made it look like there was noticably less warming in the troposphere compared to the surface, both of which had papers addressing them in 2005. Take a look at the IPCC TAR to see what they looked like before the updates. http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/060.htm I think these corrections are what changed Ron’s mind.

  63. Can we agree on terms here?
    Long term records indicate a general climate warming for the past 400 years.

    Is it being claimed by some here that GW deniers object to this observation?

    Can we make a distinction between observed GW and the entire scenario propounded by the doomsayers? That is, if you accept that climate warming exists, must one also accept all the other claims of the doomsayers?

    Throughout the entire history of earth, it is well known that life has impacted the atmosphere and vice versa. The climate has cycled a number of times between two temperature extremes (http://www.scotese.com/climate.htm). It appears that we are on a warming trend as part of this cycle. Who can say how much difference humanity’s activities will make in the longer term with regard to warming?

    Are you certain that GW is THE big threat to the future of humanity?

    BIG surprises are ahead for everyone.

  64. Jesse, here is the link again. In 1995, Philip Morris paid CEI to attack the FDA to distract the FDA from plans to regulate tobacco.

    And come on, do you think that they would be running their campaign against the science of AGW if they weren’t getting paid by Exxon?

  65. But I am puzzled as to why there was so much controversy in the first place. Carbon dioxide retains atmospheric heat, yet the idea that extra carbon dioxide might be responsible for the extra atmospheric heat is being debated?

    Because we know so little about the global carbon cycle and sources, about how other variables and feedback loops apply, and about what drives long-term climate cycles in the first place, that it is by no means clear that the extra CO2 deposited by humans can make a discernable impact.

    The correlation between global temperatures and industrial CO2 is very loose, at best. The earth has been warmer in the past, even the historical past, than it is now and is likely to become (once you throw out the alarmist high end of the projections). How can these things be, if human CO2 has such a catastrophic impact on climate?

  66. Jesse, here is the link again. In 1995, Philip Morris paid CEI to attack the FDA to distract the FDA from plans to regulate tobacco.

    Um, maybe I’m missing something, but did you just link to your own website in support of your contention?

  67. The end of respectable skepticism of the climate science probably was the correction of the upper atmosphere temperatures in 2005.

    Once again, all that the correction did was clear the air about whether warming was occurring.

    It did nothing to address the skepticism that matters, which is skepticism about the degree to which human activity drives the warming trend.

  68. The day NRO stops publishing absurdly misinformed and idiotic peons to creationism is the day I ever bother to look at anything they have to say about science. Sorry. But if you hang out with a bunch of nutcases, it may be unfair of me to assume that you’re a nutcase too… but I also don’t feel too bad about spending my time looking elsewhere either.

  69. Tim: CEI sided with the big tobacco companies when they wanted less interference from the federal government. CEI sided against those companies when they received a benefit from the federal government (and probably lost its tobacco donations as a result, though I can’t say that for sure). Looks to me like a clear-cut case of an institution following principle not money.

    Do I think CEI would push global warming skepticism if it wasn’t getting paid by Exxon? Yep. If CEI’s position on global warming is inaccurate, the error is driven by ideology, not cash.

  70. Ron, really. People like us need to STFU on global warming for a bit. We were wrong. And we were wrong for the worst reason: because we didn’t want it to be true. That counsels humility. It DOESN’T counsel recycling the fallback spin of shills.

    You definitely have a point. The problem is that shutting up on global warming leaves the field to those that were right about global warming, but are wrong about the solutions. How do I know? Well, I don’t. I might be proven to be wrong; maybe the only solution will be massive cuts in carbon emissions and a rapid transition to alternative fuels. But I don’t think that, because I was wrong about global warming, I should shut up about the whole subject. Indeed, a willingness to admit when you were wrong is the hallmark of a good scientist, in my book.

    And there are still problems with the narrative of completely anthropogenic climate change. It’s possible, even likely, that we’re seeing a combination of natural warming and artificial warming. Either one might be the dominant factor. There’s evidence that both Mars and Jupiter have undergone a warming trend in climate in the last decade; Mars’ ice caps, frozen out of its atmosphere, have almost disappeared (or maybe it’s just one cap that has; I can’t recall at the moment). Temperatures in the world at the moment are not historically astronomical; as best as I can tell, the world was as warm or warmer during the Medieval Warm Period. Which is one problem with statements like “2005 was the warmest year on record”; our records only go back a century and a half, and began when the Earth was just coming out of the Little Ice Age. But when your average person hears “warmest year on record,” they don’t think that way; they hear, “It’s never been hotter on Earth.” Hell, even rapid climate change might not be that rare in Earth’s history; there’s some evidence that the temperature of the planet dropped sharply over the course of a decade at the beginning of the Younger Dryas, and that was only thirteen thousand years ago or so (and the evidence doesn’t even come from corporate shills!).

    So I don’t think that deniers of global warming need to shut up. We need to realize that we were wrong, and should definitely be more skeptical of sources that tell us what we want to hear (though that’s good advice for anyone, in any situation). We need to be more aware of our own biases, and be prepared to admit to being wrong again if proven wrong. And I, and probably others, need to learn to like the taste of humble pie. But if you think someone’s science is wrong, or incomplete, then it needs to be questioned, whether or not you were wrong before.

  71. R. C. Dean, its a pleasure to see a balanced opinion that focuses on scientific evidence. I dont imagine it takes a climatologist to understand that just because A and B are occuring at the same time, does not imply that A is causing B or vise versa.

    As for all the people screaming that we need to jump to action NOW. Suppose, hypotheticaly speaking, that its proven that the current warming trend is part of a natural cycle, and it will get alot worse before it gets better? What do u propose then? Do we try to counteract this cycle by pumping lots of some other crap into the atmosphere or do we let it happen because its natural and therefore ‘green’?

  72. RC:

    The correction was a big deal, since the differences in surface and troposphere temperatures in the uncorrected results didn’t match what the models predicted.

  73. Ron,

    Even if your motives were put, you mislead a large number of people on a matter of great importance.

    Do you regret that?

    For all of Mr. Bailey’s acknowledgements, I’ve seen no evidence that he does. In fact, the subject and title of this post refer to the continuation of the counter-offensive against Al Gore’s efforts to undo the damage done by Mr. Bailey and his friends, and Mr. Bailey links to it approvingly.

    This is not the behavior of a repentant person.

  74. Correction: “…motives were pure…”

  75. But I am puzzled as to why there was so much controversy in the first place. Carbon dioxide retains atmospheric heat, yet the idea that extra carbon dioxide might be responsible for the extra atmospheric heat is being debated?

    Well, for a while it wasn’t certain that there was any extra atmospheric heat. And even if there were, it’s not certain that it’s all being caused by the carbon dioxide emitted by industrial civilization.

    About six or seven years ago, I went out and read up on the literature on the greenhouse effect. My purpose was for more realistic planet creation; I wanted to know, given a certain atmospheric composition, how much of a greenhouse effect there is. The best I’d been able to find before my study of the literature was an arbitrary “greenhouse correction”; that is, “multiply the blackbody temperature (corrected for albedo) of the planet by this much to get the surface temperature.” After studying the literature, that was still as good as I could find. I would have settled for ballpark figures, but there’s no such thing. Basically, all we have to go on is empirical observation, and models constructed based on those empirical observations. Because we don’t have a firm grasp of how all the factors interact, the models are highly imperfect. They’re getting better all the time, but they still can’t take into account all the factors that affect the global temperature. So yeah, some skepticism is justified, especially when we’re told that we need to base the next century of economic policy on some highly imperfect models.

  76. ‘No, it’s more like this. “Greenpeace and similar groups’ predictions on environmental issues, resource depletion, and other issues, has mostly turned out to be wrong. Now they’re saying they’re confident that global warming is real. Forgive me for at least being initially skeptical but if they were almost never right before, why should I be so quick to conclude they are right this time?”‘

    Sorry, buendia, the point was that CLIMATE SCIENTISTS, not Greenpeace, were saying that global warming is real.

  77. “For all of Mr. Bailey’s acknowledgements, I’ve seen no evidence that he does. In fact, the subject and title of this post refer to the continuation of the counter-offensive against Al Gore’s efforts to undo the damage done by Mr. Bailey and his friends, and Mr. Bailey links to it approvingly.”

    This is just inaccurate, joe. In the first place, Gore continues to overstate his case. In the second, I don’t know what damage has been done except to ensure that the key pieces of data point in the same direction.

    Apologies and humility for any tarring of legitimate scientists, yes. Swallowing Inconvenient Truth uncritically, not so much.

  78. Perhaps Al “Bikinis in Boston” Gore should be more concerned about how his own hysterics have set back the cause of properly addressing the issue of GW.

  79. joe: “Repentance” implies immorality. I admit to having been factually wrong on the general topic. GW is not a moral crusade–it’s a factual scientific issue and a possible engineering problem.

    joe, again, what organization did you say you worked for, what stocks do you own, and to what activist groups do you contribute?

  80. Jennifer,

    Carbon dioxide retains atmospheric heat, yet the idea that extra carbon dioxide might be responsible for the extra atmospheric heat is being debated?

    Because that isn’t being debated. What is being debated is the interaction of extra CO2, etc. with lots of other factors. Anyway, thank you for confirming something for me.

  81. I don’t know about the globe, but has it gotten hotter in here? In HnR, I mean.

    I’ve been semilurking at this site since Thoreau was debating Lazurus Long and it seems to me that people are not as easygoing and friendly as they once were, or maybe becomeing slightly reasonable?

    >sigh<<br />
    is it me?

  82. Sorry, buendia, the point was that CLIMATE SCIENTISTS, not Greenpeace, were saying that global warming is real.

    And eventually enough of them were saying it and confidently enough that folks like Ron Bailey, Michael Shermer, and myself decided it was probably correct. (If one wants to nitpick, I thought it was likely true before Shermer and Bailey went for it, but who cares?)

    However, while this was happening, Greenpeace and somewhat more sober non-scientists started campaigning for massive government programs and restrictive laws and regulations while claiming these things were justified by certain consequences. These consequences were almost uniformly worst-case scenarios cherry-picked from a broad range, when they weren’t completely unsupported by actual CLIMATE SCIENCE, you know?

    So no, skepticism shouldn’t be abandoned out of “humility” or because it would make some people happier to be unquestioned.

  83. “And eventually enough of them were saying it and confidently enough that folks like Ron Bailey, Michael Shermer, and myself decided it was probably correct.”

    Yeah; and the Catholic Church stopped claiming the sun revolved around the earth a mere couple of hundred years after the science was settled. I’m sure they had a couple of geocentric CEI scientists they could hide behind in the meantime.

    Likewise, the fact that the tobacco companies finally started agreeing that there might be a link between cigarette smoke and cancer in what, the 1980s?, doesn’t mean they deserve our scorn. After all, a couple of CEI “tobacco scientists” still challenged the consensus view at that time.

  84. Even if your motives were put, you mislead a large number of people on a matter of great importance.

    This is not the behavior of a repentant person.

    For God’s sake, joe, are you trying to bolster the idea that environmentalism is a religion? You sound like a fucking evangelist talking to an atheist who’s just come to Jesus, but won’t apologize for the “sin” of being wrong. Ron Bailey doesn’t have anything to fucking “repent” for, not on this issue at least. He followed his conscience, is now admitting he was wrong, and that’s not enough? He has to be fucking sorry about it as well? Does he need to ask Mother Nature for forgiveness, and repent of all his sins against Her? Had he deliberately misled people about it, yeah, I could see asking for an apology, but he was skeptical about unsettled science, which isn’t a crime.

  85. Well, Ira, I’ve been trying to be the upbeat guy in this thread, singing the praises of Jacob Sullum. Just doing my part for amity and good fun on this forum.

    Let’s face it, folks: Jacob Sullum would make a damn good science reporter!

    Whose idea was it to assign him the hallucinogenics beat anyway? He could probably do both beats. Just give him some sort of stimulant and he’ll be fine.

    If my subscription weren’t already paid well in advance, I’d make renewal contingent on Jacob Sullum’s portfolio being expanded.

  86. If leftists are this smug about one of their sides of a debate turning out to be scientifically correct in this day and age, how insufferable were they in the 60s?

  87. For instance, Jacob Sullum is the one who covers junk science in the food wars. Jacob Sullum knows when to call bull on an alleged food hazard and when to acknowledge that a particular food might be bad for your health if consumed in excess of a particular quantity.

    Jacob Sullum: Best science reporter on the Reason staff. (Meaning no disrespect to the occasional science-related articles and blog posts by other people, such as Tim Cavanaugh’s post regarding NASA today.)

  88. Yeah; and the Catholic Church stopped claiming the sun revolved around the earth a mere couple of hundred years after the science was settled.

    And the relevance of that to anything we’re talking about is nil.

    I have to say, between the demands for repentance and the denunciations of the unbelievers from people who aren’t “CLIMATE SCIENTISTS”, I have to say there is a whiff of the religious to this argument.

  89. Thoreau seems to be trying to say something. It is mysterious and shrouded in clever allusion …

    Pesky Truth:

    Be careful about consensus and when an issue is considered settled. Non linear high variable problems are by defninition difficult to sort out. In the absence of data uniformly pointing to a given conclusion, skepticism is what the scientific method suggests. It is foolish to advocate consensus over skepticism as a governing principle of epistemology.

  90. Jason Ligon,

    I wouldn’t call it clever.

  91. “Greenpeace and similar groups’ predictions on environmental issues, resource depletion, and other issues, has mostly turned out to be wrong. Now they’re saying they’re confident that global warming is real. Forgive me for at least being initially skeptical but if they were almost never right before, why should I be so quick to conclude they are right this time?”

    “We were not wrong to be skeptical and to distrust – and continue to distrust – the activists and politicians distorting and propagandizing the science.”

    I can remember when George Bush the Elder made fun of Al Gore for saying that we were destroying the ozone layer.

    So I’m curious – this certainty that liberals and bureaucrats and, you know, educated experts are wrong about everything, or at least everything that the Republican establishment is on the other side of…

    Is that the same reason you were so willing to dismiss people who doubted the threat from Iraqi WMDs?

  92. “He has to be fucking sorry about it as well?”

    Considering he misrepresented the state of the science (willfully, it increasingly appears) for such a long time, and made a good living making fun of the scientists who really were telling the truth; yes, yes, he really does have to be fucking sorry about it as well.

  93. thoreau: Hey, Jacob has it easy–he writes about simple uncomplicated and uncontroversial stuff like fat and tobacco and controlled substances. πŸ™‚ But seriously folks, I agree that Jacob is a superb reporter.

  94. Jason Ligon, “This is just inaccurate, joe. In the first place, Gore continues to overstate his case.” I don’t think he does.

    “In the second, I don’t know what damage has been done except to ensure that the key pieces of data point in the same direction.” Exactly the damage Mr. Bailey has been working to do – to delay efforts to find a solution to the problem.

    Hmm, the squirrel seems to have eaten my earlier reply to The World’s Greatest Science Correspondant:

    I am a self-employed contractor, I don’t own stock, and I have never donated to a political campaign or cause.

    grylliade, I was talking about Bailey’s readership and the nation’s public discourse. I don’t know where you get all this greenie shit, but I wonder if it’s the same place that make people skeptical of legitimate scientists when they research environmental problems.

  95. Miss Manners: It’s not nice to falsely accuse people.

    joe, who did you say you worked for, what stocks do you own, and to what activist groups do you contribute?

  96. I seem to break down and do this every six months or so…

    Exactly the damage Mr. Bailey has been working to do – to delay efforts to find a solution to the problem.

    OK, so you’re saying he should loudly repent the sin of not agreeing and of expressing doubt on on an issue before it was settled to his satisfaction.

    Thanks for clarifying.

  97. joe:

    Skepticism is healthy. Are you suggesting, by the way, that your pre war level of confidence that there were no WMDs in Iraq was similar to your level of confidence in global warming?

  98. The sources of forcing have been pretty well characterized and are covered in the TAR.

    Linkee?

    I’m no climate scientist, but when I look at graphs that show average temperatures mapped against atmospheric CO2 levels or human CO2 emissions, well, lets say the correlation doesn’t exactly bite you on the ass. The average temperature actually decreased from about 1950 to 1980, after all.

    Symptoms don’t usually pre-date causes, but when you look at the graphs, you seem a warming trend that seemed pretty well under way before serious CO2 deposition got started.

    I can see warming lagging CO2 deposition, but pre-dating it?

  99. Eh, screw it. I’m tired of being embarassed by people who vaguely agree with me that global warming exists. I’ll leave this yammering to the true-believing crowd.

  100. joe:

    “I don’t own stock”

    Egad. As a completely apolitical statement, you should get your retirement accounts going.

  101. Jason Ligon,

    Egad. As a completely apolitical statement, you should get your retirement accounts going.

    Maybe he is depending on SSI. πŸ™‚

  102. grylliade, I was talking about Bailey’s readership and the nation’s public discourse. I don’t know where you get all this greenie shit, but I wonder if it’s the same place that make people skeptical of legitimate scientists when they research environmental problems.

    I still think that calls for repentance are, in this matter, silly. As far as I can tell, Ron Bailey was sincerely wrong; he argued against global warming because he didn’t think that global warming was happening, and maybe made some money doing so. There’s nothing to apologize for there. At the time, it was not certain that global warming was happening, whatever the claims of the activists; maybe the bulk of the evidence favored it, but it wasn’t certain, and new discoveries could have easily tilted the balance the other way. Now it appears that there is little uncertainty about the matter, and Ron Bailey has changed his mind, according to the evidence. What does he have to apologize for again? For following his conscience, doing the right thing by his lights? If it had turned out that global warming wasn’t happening, would you have apologized, or would you have argued that you thought you were right, and had nothing to apologize for?

    As for the religion angle – well, from a lot of points of view (mine included) a lot of environmentalism looks like religion. You have the apocalypse (global warming), the sins for which the apocalypse is punishment (carbon emissions, deforestation, the ozone layer, the “mass extinction”), and the option to turn from our sins and avert the apocalypse. You have a lot of dogmatism, and a religious-like insistence that your dogma is The Truth. You have what happened to Bjorn Lomborg, which is inquisition-like. There’s precious little appreciation that we’re undertaking science, and that anyone who dissents from the party line on global warming might be trying to get to the truth. Instead, there are accusations flung around of oil-company money and of bad faith on the part of the deniers. I really do think that part of why global warming has seized the public imagination so much is that it fits human ideas of religion so well. Maybe we really do need to “get religion” and go green to save the planet, but the fervor with which environmentalism is embraced has little to do with reason and much to do with the instinct towards religion.

  103. Jim Henley:

    Ron, really. People like us need to STFU on global warming for a bit. We were wrong.

    No we aren’t. Just the opposite. There is no reasonable extrapolation of the data that indicates that any anthropogenic contribution to GW is critical. At the very least, no government coercion in the name of reducing GW is called for. It’s exactly the openness of the question of the magnitude of any anthropogenic GW that reaffirms that the best and most fair response to this, or any other situation, is a voluntary response.

    The lack of criticality of any human component of GW is evidenced by the fact that the relationship between global temperature and carbon dioxide (CO2), on which the entire scare is founded, is not linear. At a value less than the current concentration, every molecule of CO2 added to the atmosphere contributes less to warming than the previous one.

    http://motls.blogspot.com/2006/05/climate-sensitivity-and-editorial.html

    Gore’s book shamefully misstates this critical relationship by presenting an incorrect graph.

    http://tinyurl.com/e623o

  104. Miss Manners-

    I’m prepared to believe that money isn’t what has motivated most of the hold-outs in the global warming debate. I’m perfectly willing to believe that it’s about ideology more than anything else. Oh, no doubt there are some genuine shills out there, but the most reliable soldiers almost always fight for a cause, not a paycheck.

    FWIW, I’ve always been somewhat agnostic about the full extent of the problem, and I still am. But I’ve frequently been dismayed by the arguments put forth by the skeptics on this web site. Tactics count. Tone counts. It’s easier to maintain the credentials of a grizzled skeptic if that skepticism is applied to all manner of extraordinary claims, not just selectively applied to those that might pose ideological problems. And, in general, many of the arguments (no, not all, but many) made by skeptics of anthropogenic global warming on this forum have a strong whiff of either desperate defenses of a reflexively preferred position, or else rhetorical trickery.

    Anyway, I guess what I’m saying is:

    1) Calling somebody a paid shill is an extraordinary claim that should only be made with adequate support.

    2) I’m all about the good skepticism, but I hate any whiff of desperate or dishonest argument.

    3) Allegations of shilling should be met with skepticism. Never attribute to bribery that which can be explained by stubbornness.

  105. Has anyone ever wondered why, over the last few years, have occasionally taunted Mr. Bailey with the phrase, “window is closinig?”

    http://www.luntzspeak.com/memo.html

  106. The Greens have had episodes of their advocates being less than forthright, to say the least. For example, global warming activist and media spokesperson for the movement, Stanford University Associate Professor Steven Schneider shamefully advocated dishonesty! He advised global warming activists that:

    “We have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we have. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.”

    http://www.crossroad.to/Quotes/science.htm

    In his flick and in his book, Al Gore continues in this enviro/left tradition.

  107. Has anyone ever wondered why, over the last few years, have occasionally taunted Mr. Bailey with the phrase, “window is closinig?”

    I just figured it was to show off your superior spelling, grammar, punctuation and proofreading skills.

  108. Jason,

    My wife has a retirement account, and I contributed to a couple of different retirement systems. I have no idea what stocks they own, if any. As far as the comparison between the WMD charade and the Global Warming Denial charade, you’re asking the wrong question. Neither I nor anyone I recall reading about ever expressed any certainty about the absence of WMDs before the invasion started, just skepticism about the statements of certainty that they existed. I am far more certain about the reality of global warming today, and have been so for a decade, than I was about the absence of WMDs in Iraq before the war, if that answers your question.

    grylliade, “As far as I can tell, Ron Bailey was sincerely wrong; he argued against global warming because he didn’t think that global warming was happening, and maybe made some money doing so.” bullshit. I do not accept his bona fides, and offered Bailey’s total absence of remorse as evidence.

    “At the time, it was not certain that global warming was happening, whatever the claims of the activists; maybe the bulk of the evidence favored it, but it wasn’t certain, and new discoveries could have easily tilted the balance the other way. Now it appears that there is little uncertainty about the matter, and Ron Bailey has changed his mind, according to the evidence.” Bullshit. The evidence has been strong enough to convince the overwhelming majority of the world’s climate scientists that human activity was inducing global warming for a decade before Bailey decided to follow the Luntz memo’s advice.

    “As for the religion angle ? well, from a lot of points of view (mine included) a lot of environmentalism looks like religion.” Do you think that having this bias towards environmental issues has helped or harmed your ability to draw good conclusions about global warming?

  109. Ron Bailey,

    BTW, this is what thoreau wrote about you on gyrlliade: http://grylliade.org/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=872

  110. thoreau: Question–what’s the proper threshold for changing one’s views on a scientific issue? How much evidence is necessary? You point out the old phrase “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” which I believe applies very in the case of man-made GW. Al Gore says that he came to believe that GW might be a problem in the 1960s. My benchmark was the reconciliation of all of the global temperature records (including the satellite record) back in 2005. The extraordinary evidence had piled up enough.

    Finally, anyone who believes that the scientific discussion of GW has been politicized solely by right-wing corporate shills is either absurdly naive or ___________ well, you fill in the blank.

  111. Wow, actual honest-to-God tattling.

    I don’t think I’ve witnessed somebody in my peer group tattle in 25 years.

    That’s extraordinary.

  112. More from the enviro/left. Look at Tim Wirth’s disgusting advice:

    “We’ve got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing – in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.”

    Also, if the case can be made that human activity is causing global warming, it is easier to justify government money flowing into the scientific community to address the situation. So, we have a dove tailing of both ideological and monetary considerations that have motivated the unscientific treatment of the question. The machinations and prospects of government money and government power have damaged science.

  113. Ron:

    My benchmark was the reconciliation of all of the global temperature records (including the satellite record) back in 2005. The extraordinary evidence had piled up enough.

    Those data are evidence for warming rather than anthropogenic warming, are they not?

  114. PL: Thanks for link. I plead guilty to being generally technophilic, mostly free market, excited by the possibilities of science and technology and not being limited to seeing only the possibly bad and the dangerous in scientific developments. I also confess to not being stodgy. :->

    Just one further note: My reporting focuses on the intersection between science and policy and ethics. I do not report the latest findings on black holes or string theory (though I certainly do read about them) since they do are not enmeshed in today’s debates over policy and ethics. So I report and offer my opinion on science and technology issues that stir political debate such as biotech, nanotech, and environmental issues.

  115. Rick Barton: Yes, you are right, but it was enough combined with other evidence, e.g. glaciers receding, to persuade me. Other’s mileage may vary.

  116. Ron Bailey,

    I thought it was only fair (given what folks are saying about you here) to provide it.

  117. RC:

    http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/index.htm – Ch. 6 addresses the magnitudes and changes over time of the various forcings.

    Take a look at Table 6.13 – it has the forcings over the late 20th centry. There is an upward solar forcing trend as well as GHG forcing that I understand to predate major GHG emissions. The jumpiness of the graph is probably due to random variation. Volcanic aerosols provide a major downward forcing and and vary significantly over time. I think the flatness between 1940 to 1980 was due to a low spot in solar forcing combined with lots of volcanic aerosol – see Figure 6.8.

  118. I do not accept his bona fides, and offered Bailey’s total absence of remorse as evidence.

    I don’t follow your reasoning there. He isn’t sorry, so he must have been malicious? Maybe he doesn’t think that what global warming is happening (and will happen) is catastrophic, so being wrong is nothing to apologize for. Or maybe you’re right. Maybe he knew all along that global warming is happening, and with malice aforethought decided to screw everyone in the world over to make a buck. In that case, you’re right, he would have something to apologize for. I’m not Ron Bailey; maybe that’s what actually happened. But I doubt it.

    The evidence has been strong enough to convince the overwhelming majority of the world’s climate scientists that human activity was inducing global warming for a decade before Bailey decided to follow the Luntz memo’s advice.

    A minority of one can be right. Scientific truth has little to do with what most scientists believe. It’s what the evidence shows. Those scientists may have been wrong, though in the event they turned out to be right. What you’re saying is that deviance from the party line is thought crime, as far as I can tell. There’s no room for anyone playing devil’s advocate? The science is not as cut and dried as you seem to think it is. Climatology is very, very complex, and there’s a lot of room for disagreement. Legitimate, honest disagreement.

    Do you think that having this bias towards environmental issues has helped or harmed your ability to draw good conclusions about global warming?

    Helped, overall. It may mean that I take longer to convince of dire predictions, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, especially when we’re talking about policy prescriptions that will cost tens of trillions of dollars to implement. Look, I’m not saying that all environmentalism is religion, just that, like Marxism, it shows many earmarks of it. That means that when an environmental activist predicts dire consequences, I expect somewhat bad consequences, or maybe looking only at the costs of an action and ignoring the benefits. Even at my most skeptical, I thought it was possible that global warming was happening, though it was not proven; I just don’t believe the predictions of apocalypse (nor do I now). Instead of catastrophic upheavals of society over the next century, I expect some difficulties, most of which can be overcome. So yeah, I’m biased against environmentalism. And I probably don’t correct for it as much as I should. But that doesn’t mean I don’t correct for it.

  119. There is strong evidence, including satellite observations, that it is solar activity, rather than CO2 concentration, that have the far stronger effect on climate:

    SOLAR ACTIVITY:
    A DOMINANT FACTOR IN CLIMATE DYNAMICS

    http://www.john-daly.com/solar/solar.htm

    Please read the link before you accept the enviro/left’s dishonest pretexts to limit your liberty.

    Real science, whether it militates for or against liberty, is more interesting anyway.

  120. I hear a lot about CO2 trapping heat and we have increased CO2 by 50% but I have never seen anywhere that give the amount of BTUs held by a ton of CO2 and how much that amount of BTUs increases the temperature of the earth. Being an Industrial Engineer I can follow a rather long sequence of formulas so if anyone can point to where this info is I would be very appreciative. Until I see the numbers I remain very skeptical of the claims that CO2 emissions are causing more than minute increase in global temperatures.

  121. I didn’t completely answer Mr. Bailey’s question.

    I belong to the Democratic Party. I believe my American Planning Association membership has lapsed. (I stopped paying dues because I was offended by their position on Kelo).

    Now, my turn. Who gave you your first copy of the Luntz memo, and when?

    And did you have any direct conversation with Jack Abramoff when he took you to the Northern Mariannas?

  122. Ron-

    You pose a tough question. I don’t have an objective answer for when somebody should accept a scientific theory. In principle, of course, every scientific theory is subject to constant testing, but some are nonetheless regarded as practical tools that can be taken as tentatively true for practical purposes. (e.g. Maxwell’s theory of electromagnetism.)

    I would say that the objections being made count more than whether one accepts a theory or not. Science is about process. The methods count just as much as the result, and so the arguments used count just as much as the position taken in a scientific controversy.

    Maybe the most important thing is to have a threshold and make it known. Set it as high or low as you like, just be honest about it. Amorphous objections that constantly change to fit circumstances (and I’m not accusing you of that) are the stuff of creationism.

    Selectively applying skepticism in ideologically convenient ways is also a problem. If one trusts, say, a state-run oil company’s assertions regarding their oil reserves, but expresses strong skepticism about an alternative fuel researcher, it looks kind of fishy.

  123. MattXIV,

    Thanks for that. I’ts Very interesting.

  124. grylliade,

    The longstanding consensus among climate scientists that Mr. Bailey spent so long deriding as groupthink and corruption was not a party game, but the outcome of those scientists considering, and producing, evidence.

    Flatter yourself with your “thoughtcrime” and “religion” paradigms all you want. It doesn’t change the underlying point – your bias has made you a ripe pigeon for a very well-funded propaganda campaign by people like Ron Bailey.

  125. joe: I think we’d better agree to ignore one another from now on–it is evident that there is nothing I could say or do that will convince you of my integrity so I’m not going to bother trying with you any more.

    As for your insinuations–I heard about the Luntz memo when I read about it in the New York Times.

    As for Abramoff, I once went to a party that he was also at on Capitol Hill and we have never spoken to one another. Regarding the Marianas article–Abramoff was not on the trip I was on–and I went as the guest of the Northern Marianas Islands. I point out that Frank Foer’s investigative research that uncovered that I went on the trip consisted of him calling me up and me telling him yes that I went and would he please read the disclosure on the article I wrote about the trip. (I understand that some others were not as forthcoming, but I didn’t believe and still don’t believe that I had anything to hide.) I will now ask you to RTFA that I wrote and disclosure too. Sayonara.

  126. Thoreau: Thanks for the reply. Of course one adopts an “ideology” as a way of filtering through the vast quantities of information that one encounters as one goes through life. For example, one doesn’t always want to waste time reconsidering whether or not price controls are a generally bad idea or that government agencies often have agendas of their own that do not necessarily comport with the public good.

    As for setting benchmarks in advance–that sounds good, but seems very hard to implement because scientific evidence turns out often to be very messy.

    Regarding your last couple of lines, I’m curious about what alternative fuel researchers you trust? Send me a link to his or her research. If you’re referring to my skepticism about ethanol–I think I made it clear that I think it is being overhyped but will likely play some role in our energy future.

    With regard to state-run oil companies–I don’t trust them as far as I can throw them–however, when peak oilers say that the Saudis absolutely positively cannot increase production from 9 million barrels to 11 million barrels and then they do–who’s more credible? Also, as a reporter (and for that matter you as a scientist) who should I (we) believe–the bulk of geologists and the world’s leading energy agencies or some peak oilers who have been wrong for the last 2 decades? It’s a judgement call.

    Finally, I like you anyway. Please help me stay honest. πŸ™‚

  127. I respect Ron Bailey. The Guy’s very honest. This is a good thing in a science writer. In ideological publications such as this, one will find science writers who seem a little sketchy from time to time-Like science writers in lefty publications who seem to suspend critical thinking when appraising offerings from Greens. Or science writers who offer shaky critiques of Darwinian evolution in neo-con publications. (I remember em in Commentary-perhaps part of a ploy to bond with fundamentalist Christians in order to gin up support for the Iraq war. BTW, I know that Ron remembers em, cuz he wrote about em a few years ago.) But Ron is an honest enquirer.

  128. The longstanding consensus among climate scientists that Mr. Bailey spent so long deriding as groupthink and corruption was not a party game, but the outcome of those scientists considering, and producing, evidence.

    And the evidence was not, until recently, conclusive. Even now there’s some unsettled questions. As I said before, I don’t give a shit about the scientific “consensus.” A minority of one can still be right. Why is it that environmentalists fall back on consensus rather than scientific arguments? It’s a silly argument, that has little to do with anything. The consensus could well be wrong, even if it hasn’t proven so yet. That’s kind of the point of science.

    It doesn’t change the underlying point – your bias has made you a ripe pigeon for a very well-funded propaganda campaign by people like Ron Bailey.

    Oh, fuck you, joe. You know, I have actually read the science for myself. Have you? As I said, I’m not a climatologist, but I know enough to be able to draw some conclusions. I’m not a fucking victim of a propaganda campaign. I looked at the science, looked at both sides of the argument, and decided that the balance of the evidence lay on the side of skepticism. New evidence came along, I changed my mind. And I’m the asshole, for not having changed my mind with sufficient alacrity for you?

    Fuck. When did you become such an arrogant prick?

  129. I’m not going anywhere, Ron.

    I want to be here when the other shoe drops.

  130. “Why is it that environmentalists fall back on consensus rather than scientific arguments?”

    Because there will always be plenty of pseudo-scientific yammering that sounds sciencey enough to confuse the layman about what is, and what is not, reliable information.

    “You know, I have actually read the science for myself. Have you?” Some, not a lot. Not being an expert, I defer to the old saw about “a little learning being a dangerous thing,” and observe highly technical scentific debates rather than get myself in trouble.

    You’re not a climatologist, but you’ve read “both sides” of the scientific debate, hmm?Well then, it’s good there hasn’t been any effort to contaminate the well with a campaign of using pseudo-science to refute the actual research.

  131. Wow, joe, you’re coming across rather smug on this one, eh?

    For what it’s worth, I was not duped by Ron Bailey. I still think that no one really knows what’s really going on when it comes to long-range climate change. In fact, I think that Ron has backpedaled too much on the issue.

    And, of course, the ways of combating the climate change are still completely up to debate, and that’s me giving in and saying there even should be anything specific done about climate change.

    I own no stocks and am not paid by any organisation that has any interest whatsoever in climate change.

    At the same time, I’m just an average guy who doesn’t know a lot about any one thing, so these are all opinions. At least I have the humility to admit that I can be wrong and I don’t try to rub it in someone’s face when they turn out to be.

    Also, I thought you generally poo-poohed conspiracy theories, but now Ron is a cog in some vast conspiracy to deny global warming?

    I think you need a tinfoil hat now.

  132. Ron-

    I would agree that we all need to have our assumptions, or at least estimates of relative probabilities, that we use to evaluate new claims. But when talking about scientific claims, those assumptions are of a somewhat different character than ideology in a political or social context. Your example of being skeptical about price controls isn’t really a matter of ideology, it’s more a matter of well-established fact that price controls don’t work. To the extent that one regards economics as a science, the laws of supply and demand can be taken as a good starting point for evaluating claims, just as I can take Maxwell’s theory of electromagnetic waves as a starting point for my work in optics. (Of course, a superficial application of the laws of supply and demand might lead to erroneous conclusions, just as a superficial application of Maxwell’s theory might rule out quite a few recent developments in optics.)

    Maybe energy wasn’t the best example. My concerns boil down to the way that scientific claims are sometimes treated in a manner that would be more appropriate for policy claims. Some scientific claims might deserve more skepticism than others (depending on the plausibility in light of what we know in advance, if one takes a Bayesian view), but the social implications should have no bearing on how much skepticism a scientific claim receives.

    OTOH, how much skepticism a policy claim should receive depends on whether the claim proposes to expand or restrict liberty, for all of the usual reasons: Coercion, free will, consent, yadda yadda.

    Anyway, to elaborate on my concerns:

    Consider two scientific claims: “Molecule A causes cancer” vs. “Molecule B cures cancer.” Both of these should be treated in the same manner (assuming that we have little prior knowledge of either molecule). These statements can (at least in theory) be evaluated with evidence, and both should be approached with the same degree of skepticism going into the investigation.

    OTOH, consider two policy claims: “Molecule A should be banned” vs. “Molecule B should be freely available.” There are perfectly good reasons to subject those two proposals to very different standards of proof. But that shouldn’t change the way that we evaluate claims regarding the efficacy of molecule B or the danger of molecule A.

    Finally, I don’t have a favorite alternative fuel researcher. If I do find one I’ll let you know. I have a few technologies that I’m cautiously optimistic about, but no favorite researcher.

  133. Y’know, I’ve heckled Ron Bailey and criticized some of his stands and arguments (and I’m not done doing that yet either). But for a guy to publicly say, “I’ve considered the arguments and evidence marshalled by my opponents, and I’ve come to accept that they were right on an important point, and I was wrong” — the willingness to do that is a virtue, and a rather rare one at that.

    A person who can do that is a person who is still worth talking to, even when you disagree.

    I don’t think it’s incumbent upon Ron to STFU on GW. It literally would add nothing to the debate — and the questions of the precise cause(s) of global warming, the degree of change to expect, and how to respond, are far from settled.

    Nor do I think it’s incumbent upon Ron, or anyone else, to relinquish his skepticism entirely. The Chicken Littles have been crying apocalypse since long before the evidence of global warming was as convincing as it is now.

    I recall surveys in the late 1990s in which the largest fraction of responding climatologists and/or meteorologists either thought man-induced global warming was doubtful or that insufficient evidence yet existed to reach a conclustion. But the Chicken Little stampeder had already long since reached their conclusions. There’s no need to give statist doomsters a free rein going forward just because they happened to draw an ace on one point.

  134. Actually, Ron, there is something you could do to convince me of your integrety:

    Admit what you have been doing, explain why it is wrong, and dish on your comrades, David Brock-style.

    Steveo, “But for a guy to publicly say, “I’ve considered the arguments and evidence marshalled by my opponents, and I’ve come to accept that they were right on an important point, and I was wrong” — the willingness to do that is a virtue, and a rather rare one at that.” If you would, please follow the link I provided to the Frank Luntz memo, and tell me how virtuous it is to prosecute the rear-guard campaign against reality that it urges.

    But you are most certainly correct that the debate over the best course of action to avert that tragedy is just beginning. Which is a tragedy itself, because we’ve wasted at least a decade, during which the problem has only become greater and more intractable. You’ll understand if I harbor some ill feelings towards those who used dishonesty and misdirection to waste those ten years.

  135. joe,

    If you believe that Mr. Bailey’s comments over the last ten years have had an influence, even if only on individual minds and not public policy, don’t you think it’s a good thing that his influence is now in the camp that GW is really happening and that something perhaps should be done about it?

    My position on this, like on many others, is pretty simple: I think we need to be planting more trees than we take down each year. Yes, I know that we take down about 8 billion trees each year. But I think that’s what must be done.

  136. sage +P:

    I also have a fairly simple position. I think it would be a good idea to find ways to rely less on an energy source produced in such notoriously illiberal places as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Russia, Texas, Venezuela, and Nigeria. (I would have included Iraq on the list, but I’ve been assured that it’s becoming a liberal paradise.)

  137. thoreau,

    I think it is nice that you are talking to Bailey. Lord knows you talk about him enough.

  138. I suppose one shouldn’t expect rationality when discussing doomsday scenarios.

    But…

    Why would somebody be so certain that there’s a tragedy to avert in regards to global warming, probably the most massively complex economic puzzle devised by man, and yet so doubtful of the mathematical proof of a problem with far fewer variables like the eventual insolvency of Social Security?

  139. I suppose one shouldn’t expect rationality when discussing doomsday scenarios.

    But…

    Why would somebody be so certain that there’s a tragedy to avert in regards to global warming, probably the most massively complex economic puzzle devised by man, and yet so doubtful of the mathematical proof of a problem with far fewer variables like the eventual insolvency of Social Security?

  140. joe,

    Ice ages have been a regular feature of earth history for the last 3 million years. Ice ages last about 80K years. Warm eras 20K years.

    If man made global warming is preventing an ice age wouldn’t it be better to do nothing?

    By some estimates we have yet to fully recover fron the little ice age. If so what is the hurry to do something which may or may not have a beneficial effect?

    Solar output has been increasing for the last 100 years. What do you plan to do about it?

  141. Yeah, how did GW become anthropogenic warming in folk’s minds? There’s good evidence for the former but scant evidence for thr latter. There’s much better evidence for solar activity as the cause:

    http://www.john-daly.com/solar/solar.htm

  142. joe —

    Steveo, “But for a guy to publicly say, “I’ve considered the arguments and evidence marshalled by my opponents, and I’ve come to accept that they were right on an important point, and I was wrong” — the willingness to do that is a virtue, and a rather rare one at that.” If you would, please follow the link I provided to the Frank Luntz memo, and tell me how virtuous it is to prosecute the rear-guard campaign against reality that it urges.

    You’ve lost me. My point was that conceding ground on a point, once you feel you’ve been proven wrong, is a virtue. The relevance of the Frank Lutz memo to this point, or to anything that Ron Bailey has done, completely escapes me.

    As for the consensus approx. 10 years ago, this is what I was recalling:

    “A Gallup poll conducted on February 13, 1992 of members of the American Geophysical Union and the American Meteorological Society – the two professional societies whose members are most likely to be involved in climate research – found that 18 percent thought some global warming had occurred, 33 percent said insufficient information existed to tell, and 49 percent believed no warming had taken place.”[18] Yet by this time the most alarming alarmists were already in full cry, causing long-lasting damage to the credibility of the “global warming is real” hypothesis long before it was substantially confirmed.

    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_opinion_on_climate_change

    Not my most preferred source, but I merely trying to come with some specifics WRT the Gallup poll I dimly remembered, and it was the first hit that came up.

    I observe that “the scientific consensus” seems to vary widely, depending on who conducted the survey and who is reporting the results of the survey. However, I am not aware that Gallup is biased on this particular topic.

  143. “Which is a tragedy itself, because we’ve wasted at least a decade, during which the problem has only become greater and more intractable. You’ll understand if I harbor some ill feelings towards those who used dishonesty and misdirection to waste those ten years.”

    This is what’s pissing Joe off so much not really the debate over warming itself. Joe and his *ilk* of planners (hey, not tarring anyone, he’s a professional planner) believe that when a natural or man made or social problem occurs ‘we’ need to do something about it. If Joe and like-minded techocrats were to lose their romance with technocracy and instead do some research in market proposals and other bottom up approaches to problems he and they wouldn’t be so pissed off, as they would have evidence then that human ingenuity and bottom up approaches offer the best hope for any sort of problem – at least most of the time. But if someone usually leans towards political decision making as the first tool to reach for he is naturally going to be upset when others aren’t jumping off that ship with him. The statist sincerely believes he can engineer the decisions of millions of displaced actors and make the world better. And when I said ‘left leaning groups’ before I was wrong to use this label. ‘Statist’ is probably preferable as this also applies to George Bush and his goons who think they can remake Islamic civilization from the top down. And btw, I was just as skeptical (actually more so) of the WMD theory, and Bushites stated reasons for invasion, as I was of global warming.

    Other points: it’s a good point that one shouldn’t confuse environmentalist alarmist groups with the scientists working on climatology but then to assume that these are completely distinct groups is also not completely accurate. I suspect they intersect in something like a Venn diagram analogy.

    Also to assume that scientists don’t have political connections (does this also imply no political bias? That’s an even more extreme and naive position) is a little naive. This is not to suggest that scientists are incapable of objectivity. No, not that. But at the same time, they are not robots, lacking a moral and political bias like the rest of us. Or are Jennifer and Joe suggesting that it is only right wing scientists who are biased?

    A few other points need to be clarified. There’s the data, then there’s the interpretation of the data (which scientists often don’t agree on) then there’s policies that are recommended from that. Scientists are who we look to for the first two but their opinions are not so relevant for the latter. Here we should turn to economists.

    Joe keeps demanding Bailey repent. But
    Bailey has admitted he was wrong on the data. So he didn’t come around as soon as Joe would like. Joe, do you hold these same sorts of standards of purity and saintly like virtue for the people on the other side of the spectrum? Per ejemple, Lomborg has demonstrated strong evidence for his positions yet not only has he been attacked, he’s been screamed at, had things thrown at him in public, been harassed etc. Have any of them repented for this? Admitted they were wrong for not only their positions but their abusive behavior? Much much worse than saying ‘there’s conflicting evidence in the data so I’m skeptical of warming and especially of the proposals put forth by technocrats’ (followed by, ‘okay, I was wrong about the data’). That’s a position of virtue, especially relevant to the way your side has reacted to Lomborg. Also, what are you doing to stop global warming? Have you given up driving? Are you still flying anywhere? Do you use any vehicles, including busses to get to where you want to go? Do you ‘repent’ everytime you do? You should, according to your way of thinking, as you’re part of the problem. And have you ever been wrong on a question of science, economics, or culture that had a relationship to public policy? If so, how did you react when the evidence pointed away from your position? Did you get down on your hands and knees and grovel and beg forgiveness? Did you even admit you were wrong, in a public or private format? Did you ‘repent’ for this?

    Jennifer, if you’re not able to distinguish the evidence for warming from the economic policies of what to do about that evidence then it’s you who have lost the forest for the trees. And a Creationist never admits he’s wrong. So much for your weak, cheap shot, and wise-ass analogies.

  144. Man, what a heated (pun subconsciously intended) debate.

    Yes, we need to separate out the evidence from policy. So, what are the policy proposals the two sides are submitting? That’s a more interesting question to me.

    I suppose this should be a cautionary tale: never let one’s bias weigh too heavily when sorting out the evidence. That being said, it applies to all parts of the political quadrant. Libertarians need to be careful but so do leftists, rightest, and thingies in between. Then again, not all *biases* are created equal. Some are based merely on ideology, without any regard to evidence, and some are an equal concoction of the two, and some are various cocktails in between. I’m skeptical if someone says he doesn’t have any bias – he’s just a blank slate who like a news reader just reads in the facts as they come in. And finally, while we don’t want our bias to cloud our judgement (though it’s inevitable we are going to filter whatever comes to us through our own particular worldview) it’s not unreasonable to ask how accurate the people or models have been in the past who are now making the current claims.

    p.s. I like the Venn diagram analogy of the extent to which scientists intersect or remain separate from their allies in various movements. The areas of intersecting circles though will shrink or grow depending on the issue and the amount of politics involved.

  145. Actually, Ron, there is something you could do to convince me of your integrety: Admit what you have been doing, explain why it is wrong, and dish on your comrades, David Brock-style.

    I seriously doubt Mr. Bailey is capable of writing that badly, joe, but it certainly is interesting to read the sort of person you consider a role model of integrity.

    What is perhaps even more interesting is the influence you impute to Mr. Bailey’s journalistic career — his implied ability to sway the masses with his sophistical reasoning and masterful ability to cloud the minds of lesser mortals. Personally, I had no idea he wielded such power over the course of Western civilization and my respect for him has only increased as a result of this revelation and now approaches awe.

  146. “Fuck. When did [joe] become such an arrogant prick?”

    joe was, is and evermore shall be an arrogant prick.

  147. Thoreau,

    Pardon my ignorance, but how do you feel that will help with global warming? Not that I disagree with your position; in fact I think you’re right on the money.

  148. “And the evidence was not, until recently, conclusive.”

    If you define ‘recently’ as about 2001, then, sure. Before that it was merely mostly conclusive; and the last time it could have been said to truly be up in the air was in the early 1990s.

    Likewise, I assert that the link between tobacco smoke and lung cancer was not, until recently, conclusive. Therefore, you can’t get mad at me for misleading people for a couple of mere decades.

  149. joe was, is and evermore shall be an arrogant prick.

    That’s not fair. He was unreasonable in this thread. But he’s usually not that way at all.

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