Communism

Is the Green Wing Really Pinko? Col. Sanders, What a Bore

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Czech President Vaclav Klaus, that great post-communist ? not anti-communist, mind you, but post-communist ? has been dining out internationally for two decades on comparing whatever it is Anglo-American center-rightists despise (the European Union, the Euro, global warming alarmists, George Soros) to communism. It's a juvenile and arguably obscene comparison ? and a kissing cousin to the rising trend of finding "fascism" behind every action and statement of whatever U.S. political grouping or politician you dislike ? but what makes it all the more intriguing to those of us who have actually covered his long record in office is that the Thatcher-lovin', Hayek-namedroppin', would-be Milton Friedmanite has, since at least the first half of the 1990s, governed to the economic left of the Hungarian Socialist Party. While jealously protecting centralized power, resisting most efforts to come to public (let alone legal) terms with the Communist crimes of the past, and generally being a grade-A asshole.

Anyway, Klaus was at the National Press Club in D.C. yesterday, touting his new Competitive Enterprise Institute-published book Blue Planet in Green Shackles—What Is Endangered: Climate or Freedom?, and challenging Al Gore to a debate on climate change (now that I'd love to see!). Obligatory commies-under-your-bed quote:

Klaus, an economist, said he opposed the "climate alarmism" perpetuated by environmentalism trying to impose their ideals, comparing it to the decades of communist rule he experienced growing up in Soviet-dominated Czechoslovakia.

"Like their (communist) predecessors, they will be certain that they have the right to sacrifice man and his freedom to make their idea reality," he said.

"In the past, it was in the name of the Marxists or of the proletariat—this time, in the name of the planet," he added.

Is there an authoritarian, or at least worryingly interventionist, strain in modern environmentalism? Did some notorious Reds quickly change their spots to Green? No doubt. Is now the time to stand athwart climate regulation yelling "Stop!" Probably! But it's striking to me that climate change skepticism ? which almost always takes the high road of Science and Rationality ? can so easily, in the hands of crude rhetoriticians like Klaus, rely on a little doomsday hyperbole of its own.

And though it wouldn't improve the comparison to a political system that will never be reintroduced in the west (thanks in no small part to heroes like Vaclav Klaus), I could swallow the Red card much easier were it to come from someone, like that other Vaclav, who actually confronted the Big Red Machine in real time.

So what is Havel doing nowadays? Debuting a new play, about an old dissident-turned-politician who is drummed out of office by a cutthroat and corrupt capitalism-espousing pig!

An ambitious character named Vlastik Klein (whom some commentators speculate is modeled on Havel's political rival, current president Vaclav Klaus, although he differs from Klaus in important ways) embodies the materialistic, mobster-driven world of eastern Europe in the 1990s. Klein slyly ousts the Chancellor from his government villa, then buys it himself and converts it into a shopping mall complete with brothel.

At this point in their advancing lives, the decades' worth of rancor and score-settling between the two Vaclavs has begun, in my judgment, to cloud both of their judgments. Which is kind of poetic, since few if any other post-commie countries can boast of having two such visionary and effective leaders for so long.

From reason's rich archive: John Fund interviewed Klaus in June 1990. Thomas W. Hazlett cheered "The Czech Miracle" in early 1995, then soured on Klaus' record three years later. And in May 2003, I teased out the Dueling Vaclavs idea in a profile of the little mumbly one.

NEXT: Ryan Frederick's Preliminary Hearing

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  1. Matt, you have outdone yourself. A Tom “T-bone” Stankus reference? I never thought I would see the day.

    “Poppies…poppies…poppies”

  2. But it’s striking to me that climate change skepticism ? which almost always takes the high road of Science and Rationality

    HA HA HA HA HA HA HAAAA!!!

    Hoooo, boy! Good one, Matt.

  3. “It’s a juvenile and arguably obscene comparison ? and a kissing cousin to the rising trend of finding “fascism” behind every action and statement of whatever U.S. political grouping or politician you dislike…”

    he claimed, as, two posts earlier on the same blog, the border-security wall is compared to the Berlin Wall.

  4. has, since at least the first half of the 1990s, governed to the economic left of the Hungarian Socialist Party

    What has a Czech PM got to do with Hungary? Were you comparing the two countries or is it a typo?

  5. Personally, I think we need to spend more time worrying about our own problems.

    JR
    http://www.fireme.to/udi

  6. HA HA HA HA HA HA HAAAA!!!

    Hoooo, boy! Good one, Matt.

    He said skepticism, not denial, joe. Certainly you know the difference. Or have you abandoned scientific inquiry?

  7. But it’s striking to me that climate change skepticism ? which almost always takes the high road of Science and Rationality

    Thankfully, Reason has Ron Bailey on the staff who is quite good at this.

    Unfortunatly, when that approach is taken, the luddite-Left starts igniting their torches with copies of “The Satanic Gasses” and polishing the pitchforks with the blood of those that dare to disagree with them.

  8. Hoooo, boy! Good one, Matt.

    Agreed. My climate skepticism is pretty strong. But to claim that climate skepticism/denial/whatever predominately takes the high road is absurd. Both sides of the debate have vast arrays of “crude rhetoriticians”, to the point where filtering out the chaff is almost a full time job.

  9. MP,

    I forgot, what kind of vehicles do you own and operate and where is that thermostat set in your home?

  10. Ooops, I withdraw my question MP.

    (rereading is good, reading right first is better)

  11. Here’s the problem I see with the global warming debate: both sides seem vulnerable to ex post facto reasoning.

    Many critics of global warming theory don’t like the ideological implications of the theory or the ideological demands of its prominent political advocates, so therefore they declare that global warming cannot be true. This is not true of all global warming skeptics, but there is a substantial body of critics of the theory whose ideological determination not to accept the theory comes before [and controls] their scientific skepticism.

    The reverse is also true, in a more sociological way. A person is more likely to choose environmental science as a specialty if one is an environmentalist to begin with. The science is not as dispassionate as it can be in other fields, because the premise that industrial civilization is a problem is accepted by many environmentalists before they become environmental scientists. This creates a danger that the scientist will view it as their job to find evidence that will justify public policy choices that will solve the “problem” of industrial civilization.

  12. Jamie, good heavens, what do you have to inquire about when the science is settled? Al Gore has spoken!

    When there’s a consensus of scientists, you don’t actually need any science behind that consensus. Even when we’re smack in the middle of a two decades of straight global cooling, there’s a consensus.

    Right, joe?

  13. How many more comments until this becomes another “save the cute, fluffy white bears” thread?

  14. When there’s a consensus of scientists, you don’t actually need any science behind that consensus.

    Yea, just ask that dead Italian painter guy, Galileo.

  15. mmmm Col. Sanders mention is giving me the KFC munchies. Too bad we don’t have a real KFC where I work, only KFC Express 🙁

    Have to settle for a big salad . . .

  16. Jamie Kelly,

    I supposed one could stick the label “skeptic” on all the good guys, and “denier” on all the bad guys, and make your statement true, but it’s not as though the two are actually distinct groups.

    And since you asked, I’m all for scientific inquiry, thank you very much. Scientific inquiry is how the once-novel theory of global warming became such a point of broad agreement among climate scientists.

  17. Wrong, Brandon.

    Rather than “two straight decades of global cooling,” something like 15 of the hottest 20 years in the last millenium were in the last two decades.

    And rather than there being “no scientists” behind the consensus, the global warming consensus position describe the overwhelming majority of those who study the issue.

    So, other than misstating the science and misstating the position of scientists, that was a really terrific post about the state of the science.

  18. I went to college with a niece of Vaclav Havel in the 90s. She was apolitical, but I still thought it was kind of neat her family were bona fide freedom fighters. And she was a lot of fun (and also pretty cute).

  19. Bunch a got dam watermelons, that’s all they are.

  20. Al Gore. Radical lefties. Guy Montag.

    Yup, “skepticism” sure is characterized by the high road.

  21. Rather than “two straight decades of global cooling,” something like 15 of the hottest 20 years in the last millenium were in the last two decades.

    That is such a crock. No one can credibly claim to know global temperatures within a few degrees even 100 years ago.

  22. That is such a crock. No one can credibly claim to know global temperatures within a few degrees even 100 years ago.

    Sing It Tall One!

    A New Religion That Will Bring You To Your Knees…..

  23. I was going to wait a couple weeks and belch it.

  24. No one can credibly claim to know global temperatures within a few degrees even 100 years ago. Oh, cripes, the “I’ve never seen an atom” stage of scientific discourse.

    That’s odd, I keep hearing about how the unquestioned warming trend of the past 70 years is not uncommon. From deniers. Who don’t seem to have any trouble with temperature records in that context.

    Well, TallDave, the people who actually commit themselves to the scientific investigation of climatology disagree with you.

  25. “Vaclav Klaus, that great post-communist ? not anti-communist, mind you, but post-communist.”

    I am a post-wako-environmentalist – not anti-wako-environmentalist, mind you, but post-wako-environmentalist.

  26. Like Matt, I also lived in Prague for many years in the 90s (I wonder if our paths ever crossed.) Jonah Goldberg and Sacha Cohen (Borat was the name of club in Prague) were there, too.

    I thought Klaus did a pretty good job as prime minister — at least, until the corruption scandals. He slowly but gradually lowered taxes and eliminated regulations.

    He always came across as a thoughtful, intelligent leader (albeit arrogant.) The same three adjectives could easily apply to Havel. There’s a reason why these two have always disliked each other.

  27. the unquestioned warming trend of the past 70 years

    It’s not unquestioned, in fact the evidence os contradictory and mixed at best. There are reports of greatly diminished Arctic sea ice in the 1920s, and the warmest year on record in the U.S. (which climatologists agree has the best records, as shoddy as they are) was 1934.

    As for the past 2000 years, the Viking settlements are pretty hard to explain, and the temperature measurement methods are all indirect.

    Well, TallDave, the people who actually commit themselves to seeking funding for the scientific investigation of climatology disagree with you.

    Fixed.

  28. “In the past, it was in the name of the Marxists or of the proletariat – this time, in the name of the planet,” he added.

    We know what’s good for you. Sit down and shut up.

  29. I’m going to go with the people who actually have degrees in the field and study the issue for a living over some dude who posts comments on a comment thread, TallDave.

    You understand.

  30. If you’re anti-scientist, you’re anti-science.

  31. I’m going to go with the people who actually have degrees in the field and study the issue for a living

    Good news joe: scientists at the Tobacco Institute have discovered smoking cigarettes is not bad for you!

    And I don’t want to hear any nonsense about how they’re just saying that to get funding.

  32. This is slightly OT, but it is an example of things that make me an anthropomorphic global warming sceptic:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080522121036.htm

    There is also indications of global warming on other planets. Is it caused by my Hemi powered Durango or could it be some other external factor causing several planets to warm up.

    I am all in favor of more research. It is the people like Al Gore who say we’ve done all the research we need to do, we’ve got to make radical changes, end of discussion that make we wary.

  33. I’m still waiting for the global warnming squawkers to show me a perfectly linear one for one correlation between variations in man-made so-called “greenhouse gasses” and global temperatures that tracks consistently over every single second of the entire timespan of human existence on this earth.

  34. Actually, the word I should have used is ‘anthropocentric’.

    My bad.

  35. Think of the fuel savings we’ll realize when we can ship cargo through the Northwest Passage.
    Buncha whiny pessimists…

  36. I’m starting to wonder if Gil Martin is a put-on, like Neil.

    TallDave, as fascinating as it is that you can find a minority of scientists to back your pre-determined position, it’s not a terribly compelling argument.

    Particularly when you manage to find a reason to ignore the vast majority of scientists on bullshit charges of corruption, and then (being the wonderful, uber-rational skeptic), you unquestioningly accept the reliability of that minority who tell you want you want to hear.

  37. You ask so many questions; what answers should I choose?
    Is this schiziod paranoia, or just existential blues?

  38. “I’m starting to wonder if Gil Martin is a put-on”

    I don’t wonder at all whether you are.

  39. A girl with psychic powers/she said “T-bone, what’s your sign?”

    I blinked and answered “neon”/I thought I’d blow her mind

  40. Good news joe: scientists at the Tobacco Institute have discovered smoking cigarettes is not bad for you!

    Unlike the “scientists” at the Tobacco Institute, those working at universities and for federal research agencies don’t receive grants tied to finding anyone’s preferred outcomes. Which is why you can find a small minority of climate scientists at NASA, for example, who dispute the consensus position, and their papers get published/reports released, but cannot find Tobacco Insititute scientists putting out reports that contradict their line.

    It’s probably also worth mentioning that the Tobacco Insitutite researchers are much more comparable to the global warming “skeptics,” in that their eccentric findings are far outside the scientific mainstream, represent a small minority opinion among relevant researchers, and have a tendency to release results which receive a great deal of press from friendly media sources, before being quietly refuted by other researchers.

  41. Science is not done by majority vote.

    Particularly when you manage to find a reason to ignore the vast majority of scientists on bullshit charges of corruption

    Not corruption, just ordinary bias. One should always be skeptical of any scientist whose claims tend to bolster his funding.

    I’ve worked with venture capitalists, and I can tell you there are a million people out there claiming to have world-shaking science proojects that just need funding.

  42. C’mon, Gil.

    Nobody writes this seriously:

    a perfectly linear one for one correlation between variations in man-made so-called “greenhouse gasses” and global temperatures that tracks consistently over every single second of the entire timespan of human existence on this earth.

    Way over the top. Dial it back a bit, or everyone is going to see through the shtick.

  43. Unlike the “scientists” at the Tobacco Institute, those working at universities and for federal research agencies don’t receive grants tied to finding anyone’s preferred outcomes.

    Riiiiight.

    If it was determined that global warming was not a serious problem, what would happen to funding for climatology?

  44. Oh, wait, I forgot I was talking to a socialist.

    Government = good, private industry = bad.

  45. Science is not done by majority vote.

    No, it’s done by independent researches who apply the scientific method to the study of data, and then publish their results, which are then reviewed and challenged by other scientists, who also publish the results of their own experiments and reviews.

    And when the large majority of scientists doing this come to similar conclusions, we call that a consensus.

    TallDave, can you please name for me another scientific issue where you consider the consensus position of the vast majority of researchers to be wrong? Just one?

  46. So, just out of curiosity, what will your position be if 2018 is cooler than 1998?

  47. Okay, I am now convinced.

    Matt, stop calling it “global warming” it is Climate Change.

    Since every bit of change in the climate is caused by man and the Big Evil Oil I am converting all of my vehicles to steam power.

    There! Happy?

  48. TD,

    Use historical examples. Scroll up for one about the planets and stuff.

  49. TallDave, can you please name for me another scientific issue where you consider the consensus position of the vast majority of researchers to be wrong? Just one?

    Hundreds.

    We can start with the consensus in 1908 that the universe was composed of only our galaxy. Then we can discuss the consensus view that the Universe was steady state, not expanding. Then we could move on to the classical physics consensus that particle interactions were determinative, not probabilistic.

    Consensus is wrong all the time.

  50. If it was found that pollen allergies were not a serious problem, what would happen to immunology research funding?

    If it was found that ____________ was not a real problem, what would happen to ______________ funding.

    I’m going to ask again: can you please name for me another issue in which you reject the consensus position that the vast majority of the field’s scientists support?

    Oh, wait, I forgot I was talking to a socialist.

    It always does come down to this, doesn’t it? Your sort simply cannot lekeep their politics out of it and follow the science. If the science doesn’t tell you what you want to hear, it’s because of teh socialists and bias, and it simply doesn’t matter what the science says.

  51. I’m still waiting for the global warnming squawkers to show me a perfectly linear one for one correlation between variations in man-made so-called “greenhouse gasses” and global temperatures that tracks consistently over every single second of the entire timespan of human existence on this earth.

    Is this some kind of joke?

    Using this standard of proof, it would be impossible to prove commonplace observations like “Getting run over by a car hurts and is bad for you” or “You shouldn’t eat poison” or “Getting struck by lightning is not good”.

    We accept much, much lower standards of proof for propositions like “Central planning is not smart economic policy”.

    This is what I mean when I talk about people who tailor their skepticism to their desired outcome.

  52. “Nobody writes this seriously:”

    On the contrary, that’s absolutely brilliant commentary.

    And you aren’t the least bit capable of proving the case is otherwise.

    Come to think of it, you have never been the least bit capable of ever proving anything.

  53. If it was found that pollen allergies were not a serious problem, what would happen to immunology research funding?

    Probably the same thing that happened to phlogiston research funding.

  54. So, just out of curiosity, what will your position be if 2018 is cooler than 1998?

    My position will be, what does the science tell us about this? What is the scientific community saying? Is this just the normal noise one sees in every chart of annual global temperature averages, or is it something else?

    And, as always, I will look to the climate scientists themselves to answer that question.

  55. But having said that, I do have to point out to joe that this is part of the price you pay for that period of decades when leftists asserted that the thought of Marx was “scientific”.

  56. If it was found that ____________ was not a real problem, what would happen to ______________ funding.

    Yes, that was my point: things get funded if scientists find a problem. That gives them an incentive to find such problems.

    Oh, wait, I forgot I was talking to a socialist. — It always does come down to this, doesn’t it?

    When you say something as silly as “working at universities and for federal research agencies don’t receive grants tied to finding anyone’s preferred outcomes,” yes.

  57. We can start with the consensus in 1908 that the universe was composed of only our galaxy. Then we can discuss the consensus view that the Universe was steady state, not expanding. Then we could move on to the classical physics consensus that particle interactions were determinative, not probabilistic.

    Every one of those was disproven through further research, whereas further research has served only to increase the size of the global warming consensus, and the confidence of those holding it.

    But that wasn’t the question. You don’t subscribe to any of those old positions, which are not the consensus of any scientists.

    I asked – note the verb tense – can you please name for me another issue in which you reject the consensus position that the vast majority of the field’s scientists support? You have yet to do so.

  58. Still wating for an answer.

  59. For those interested or amused by a past scientific consensus:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phlogiston

  60. Probably the same thing that happened to phlogiston research funding.

    In the real world, research into the physics of friction and heat receive several orders of magnitude more funding than they did when the phlogiston theory was popular.

  61. Every one of those was disproven through further research

    Just as anthropogenic global warming may be.

    whereas further research has served only to increase the size of the global warming consensus

    That was true for classical physics too, until suddenly one day it wasn’t anymore. That embarassed a lot of people, including Einstein, and quantum mechanics was resisted for some time.

    In any case, there is no consensus that global warming is a serious problem. About a third of climate scientists disagree.

  62. Fluffy,

    The science is not as dispassionate as it can be in other fields, because the premise that industrial civilization is a problem is accepted by many environmentalists before they become environmental scientists. This creates a danger that the scientist will view it as their job to find evidence that will justify public policy choices that will solve the “problem” of industrial civilization.

    I don’t see environmental science as particularly vulnerable to a particular bias anymore than any other field. Bias is part of the game…but among a group of scientists those bias-arrows point in all different directions…and there is no reason to think that all environmental scientists are doing applied research that would be important at a policy level. Many are just fascinated by the complexity of the world and want to understand it…

    I would even bet it is the majority.

    As for the “high-road” comment…that made me chuckle.

  63. In the real world, research into the physics of friction and heat receive several orders of magnitude more funding than they did when the phlogiston theory was popular.

    But they’re not looking for phlogiston any more.

  64. The phlogiston hypothesis was never upheld through testing, but was in fact disproven through testing.

    As opposed to global warming theory, which was first dreamed up as a result of the outcomes of research into the heat-trapping properties of gasses and reviews of temperature data.

    It’s a cute game to refer to the belief in the two ideas by the same name, but doing so only advertises the low level of understanding and/or respect for how science works among those stooping to such a trick. One might as well note that scientists once believe the earth was flat, as a reason to discount the fact that they’ve now proven that it was round.

  65. [newly-awakened-and-converted-to-the-Left voice]

    TD,

    How can you question any of this unless you have some mental defect?

    Climate Change deniers need to be hospitalized. We need more funding for the hospitals because the people who need to be in them refuse to check in on their own. They need to be found and treated. If they have enough money for their own treatment, then they need to pay for it themselves, of course. When that runs out then the government must provide relief.

    Their writings are infecting others, so they should not be allowed to spread their hate. We need less hate in the world and more love.

    People who do not express the concensus scientific opinion, being of mental defect as stated above, need to be tested before being allowed to vote. It is only fair. When ignorant haters vote, they distort the election process.

    Solving the problems of the world is not that hard if you are willing to take the proper measures of love and kindness, for the good of all.

    [/newly-awakened-and-converted-to-the-Left voice]

  66. Just as anthropogenic global warming may be.

    Except that’s not how the research has worked out, is it? Further research just keeps confirming and perfecting the theory. As opposed to phlogiston.

    But they’re not looking for phlogiston any more. Exactly. Contrary to your earlier assertion, the research that disproved that hypothesis did not, in fact, result in reduced funding for scientists in the field. Rather than drying up funding, as you asserted, the evidence against that theory opened up whole new fiels of science, and greatly incresed opportunities for scientists.

  67. The phlogiston hypothesis was never upheld through testing,

    Actually, it held up through initial testing, and was later disproved.

  68. Tell me, is there anyway to distinguish this:

    whereas further research has served only to increase the size of the global warming consensus

    from this:

    whereas further research funding opportunities have served only to increase the size of the global warming consensus

    Because I’m pretty sure that all that further research is funded.

    Just askin’, is all.

  69. I’m glad we’ve got Guy Montag here to remind us how pure global warming “skepticism” is from ideological bias.

  70. Rather than drying up funding

    Really? Go try to get a grant to investigate phlogiston and see how hard they laugh at you.

  71. Further research just keeps confirming and perfecting the theory.

    Just as it did for classical physics and the Steady State theory, until one day it didn’t.

  72. Since every bit of change in the climate is caused by man and the Big Evil Oil I am converting all of my vehicles to steam power.

    And just how do you propose to make your steam? Do you have a magical device which will convert blog comments from virtual hot air into the kind which causes water to boil?

  73. Klein slyly ousts the Chancellor from his government villa, then buys it himself and converts it into a shopping mall complete with brothel.

    Why did “1600 Pennsylvania Avenue” suddenly pop into my head?

  74. “In any case, there is no consensus that global warming is a serious problem.”

    Indeed.

    Someone forgot to tell these scientists about the “consensus”:

    http://www.petitionproject.org/

  75. Matt Welch also said “I thank Jeebus every day I don’t hail from a nation-state .”

    Just more left-wing clap-trap from one of Koch’s employees.

  76. Lol, you really are floundering now, TallDave!

    You said that disproving one theory will dry up funding for the entire field, and when given an example of a theory being disproven and research opportunities in the field expanding, you are reduced to noting that the research funding in the field is going towards viable theories.

    You don’t have to pull tricks like that if your argument makes sense, you know.

  77. Still waiting for an answer, TallDave.

    Can you please name a single subject in which there is a broad consensus of scientists which you disagree with?

  78. And just how do you propose to make your steam?

    I’ve noticed a lot of hot air emanates from Al Gore. I’m sure we can harness this somehow.

  79. [newly-awakened-and-converted-to-the-Left voice]

    joe,

    You have convinced me. Try scrolling up and reading. Sorry, I forgot, you are the final word on smarts around here. I should not have implied that you are a moron for not reading, when you clearly must have and I missed something! When you call someone stupid they must be, until they straighten up and agree with you!

    I fall on the mercy of the court of joe. I know that I can not convert to steam power quickly enough for you, princess joe, so please please do not be too cruel! I promis to be good and view ALL climate change as climate change. PROMISE! Unless it starts getting warmer again, then I will go by whatever you say it is, global warming, global atmospheric thermal inflation, whatever you say!

    Who do I need to vote for to save the planet? I vote in TN, rather than FL, so I get a whole vote (or more) rather than the 3/5th vote FL amd MI folks get, so I can help a lot more than you think.

    [/newly-awakened-and-converted-to-the-Left voice]

  80. “Except that’s not how the research has worked out, is it? Further research just keeps confirming and perfecting the theory.”

    Further research has found that the Earth stubbornly refuses to behave according to global warming theory. But I guess you are thinking of some other research.

  81. Can you please name a single subject in which there is a broad consensus of scientists which you disagree with?

    I think I gave you about a dozen instances in which consensus was wrong.

  82. Wait. I thought the Kochtopus was one a them neo-con war profiteers. Are the neo-cons leftists? I get so confused…

  83. P Brooks,

    And just how do you propose to make your steam? Do you have a magical device which will convert blog comments from virtual hot air into the kind which causes water to boil?

    Coal or whale oil, not sure yet. Just a stop-gap until nuclear power is available for all, of course.

  84. You said that disproving one theory will dry up funding for the entire field,

    No, I said scientists have a bias towards results that will increase their funding.

    You rather hilariously insist that this is not true for phlogistons, so I will renew my proposal that you attempt to secure funding to investigate the substance.

  85. (Sorry. Kochtopus was re: James’ comment at 11:50. Man, the comments come fast and furious on these global warming threads.)

  86. “Wait. I thought the Kochtopus was one a them neo-con war profiteers. Are the neo-cons leftists? I get so confused…”

    Yes, they are. They are leftists who like war.

  87. Hey you guys, quit arguing with joe. He declared you guys wrong already. Don’t you know this is a Democrat talking points board? Go find your own board!

  88. James,

    Further research has found that the Earth stubbornly refuses to behave according to global warming theory.

    Wrong. Further research has found that the Earch behaves exactly as global warming theor would predict. Ice packs recede, weather patterns change, biological processes are effected. The precise understanding of HOW these things play out is always being modified, but not in ways that refute or even challenge the underlying theory.

  89. Can you please name a single subject in which there is a broad consensus of scientists which you disagree with?

    But if you’d like something more current — the consensus among plasma physicists is that tokamaks are the most practical way to confine plasmas. I disagree, and believe inertial electrostatic confinement or other nonthermal schemes such as field-reversed configurations show more promise.

  90. I think I gave you about a dozen instances in which consensus was wrong.

    I’m going to ask you again, since you still haven’t answered the question, and please note the verb tense:

    Can you please name a single subject in which you disagree with a broadly held, well-researched concensus held by a large majority of scientists?

  91. See? You guys are even wrong about our planet name, it is Earch, not Earth.

    Jeesh! joe, you really have some patience to put up with this level if ignorance.

  92. A neo-con leftist.
    That Koctopus is one devious sumbitch.

  93. Joe’s engaged in a rather large appeal to authority but his appeal can’t explain:

    1. The recent cooling trend, which the primary theories espoused for anthropogenic warming have yet to credibily account for (falsifiability warning).

    2. Past warming trends, including the above-mentioned Viking settlements (why did they name it Greenland?) in pre-anthropgenic, mass produced, greenhouse gas days.

    3. The sharp difference between the IPCC temperature projections and pretty much all of the others.

    Scientific consensus means little when the pheonomena don’t match the theory. Newtonian Physics was the consensus before Einstein and others came along.

  94. Further research has found that the Earch behaves exactly as global warming theor would predict

    O Rly?

    A 10-year timeout for global warming, study says

    http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0501/p25s01-wogi.html

    That sounds different than earlier studies.

  95. ME,

    Oh no! Now you have done it!

    Don’t you realize that all of what you wrote is more proof of the concensus?

    You can not fight the concensus! Resistance is, um, bad! You should lose your weatherman license for talking like that.

  96. A 10-year timeout for global warming, study says

    Because of global warming, it is going to get cooler?

    That doesn’t really pass the smell test.

  97. No, I said scientists have a bias towards results that will increase their funding.

    Actually, this is what you wrote: If it was determined that global warming was not a serious problem, what would happen to funding for climatology?

    You claimed that disproving a particulare theory in a field will dry up funding for that field as a whole, not just for the specific theory.

    When faced with the slam dunk proof of the opposite – that there are vastly more opportunities for funding of heat- and friction-related research since the phlogiston theory was disproven, you’ve been forced to whimper “But it’s not funding the phlogiston theory!”

  98. Some history…

    Fourier, 1827 the greenhouse gas concept.

    Tyndall, 1860 the major constituents of our atmosphere, nitrogen and oxygen, do not absorb heat (infra-red radiation from the Earth) and that the greenhouse effect is the result of the minority gases in our atmosphere, especially water vapour, carbon dioxide and methane.

    1896, Arrhenius, the first global warming calculation “If the human population should burn so much fossil fuel that the carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere should double, what would the temperature rise be?”

    Results: average global increase of 5 ?C.

    This issue has been under scientific study for a long time. So far the very basic underlying premise has held up…been refined…and continues to be studied and refined.

    The debate will continue, but current policy has a choice, wait until the science passes the Gilbert Martin Test of Absolute Certainty or respond based on the most vetted science.

  99. I don’t see environmental science as particularly vulnerable to a particular bias anymore than any other field. Bias is part of the game…but among a group of scientists those bias-arrows point in all different directions…

    Yes, but I think the “existential” issues in this case are particularly severe.

    Ptolemaic cosmology was disproven by people who were trying to prove it. Newtonian physics was disproven by people who were trying to prove it. The Biblical history of the Earth was disproven by geologists who were seeking to prove it. In these instances, we could have greater confidence in the absence of bias, because the personal preferences of the scientists involved were actually contradicted by the ultimate findings.

    Environmental science attracts more crusaders. I generally only encounter popularizations of science, but the “media bio” of many researchers in the field starts out “I read Rachel Carson in high school and wanted to do something” or something similar. And that’s a way to end up producing bad science.

    I don’t think by any means that all researchers are “corrupted” in this way, but I think it’s more of a problem with environmental research than with, say, research into pure physics.

    But let me just say about the phlogiston debate here: this would be a more credible objection if it was equally applied. If skeptics were equally skeptical of other areas of science that influence public policy, I would be more inclined to regard their skepticism here as sincere and not as aped. If the skeptics opposed a missile defense shield, for example, because they pointed out that the scientific consensus about laser technology could be superceded at any moment by new discoveries. If you have a specific reason for skepticism of global warming science, great. I’m skeptical myself. But the generic “scientists have been wrong about stuff before” thing doesn’t cut it unless you also want to throw away our nuclear arsenal because it might turn out that Einstein’s physics is also fundamentally flawed in the way that Aristotle’s was.

  100. ME,

    Every one of those points is easily accounted for.

    1. Global average temperature doesn’t change in a smooth manner. The 70-year-long warming trend contains numerour peaks and valleys.

    2. Global warming theory does not assert that human inputs are the only forces that cause changes.

    3. There are no such shart differences, as the IPCC projections are provided in terms of ranges and probabilities.

  101. Actually, this is what you wrote: If it was determined that global warming was not a serious problem, what would happen to funding for climatology?

    Yes. Phlogiston was not a problem, it was a substance that turned out not to exist. Hence, no one is looking for it.

    You claimed that disproving a particulare theory in a field will dry up funding for that field as a whole, not just for the specific theory.

    Obviously I did not say that, but I do enjoy you watching beat up strawmen of your own creation.

  102. Environmental science attracts more crusaders.

    That is Blasphemy! They are all completely unbiased, Vulcan like people with big degrees in measureing the Earch’s temperature!

    The Earch has a fever. It needs more cowbell.

  103. TallDave,

    A particular theory: “global warming”
    A field of study: “climatology”

    If you weren’t claiming that a particular theory was driving funding for a field of study…what were you claiming?

  104. O Rly?

    A 10-year timeout for global warming, study says

    http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0501/p25s01-wogi.html

    That sounds different than earlier studies.

    1. The warming trend has always been “noisy,” with numerous peaks and valleys.

    2. Particular studies and projections are not “global warming theory,” but individual studies.

    3. The “10-year cooling trend” is an artifact of cherry-picking 1997, a remarkably hot year. One could cherry-pick a time frame starting at a similarly cool year and announce that warming trends vastly exceed the scientific consensus.

    It’s no wonder that you believe scientists to be so biased and unreliable, given the behavior of those you choose to believe.

  105. NM,

    Is it global warming again? I just got warmed up to climate change.

  106. But the generic “scientists have been wrong about stuff before” thing doesn’t cut it unless you also want to throw away our nuclear arsenal because it might turn out that Einstein’s physics is also fundamentally flawed in the way that Aristotle’s was

    Nuclear weapons are directly testable. We can’t directly test whether global warming will be a serious problem over the next 100 years. It’s more like the cosmology issues, in that we can only measure and infer — and the consensus has been wrong about cosmology countless times.

  107. Nuclear weapons are directly testable.

    We should test them on the haters. Especially the ignorant haters.

  108. Obviously I did not say that,

    OK, d00d, here you go: If it was determined that global warming was not a serious problem, what would happen to funding for climatology?

    It was a stupid assertion, and I wouldnt’ want to take credit for it, either, but those are your own words.

  109. 3. The “10-year cooling trend” is an artifact of cherry-picking 1997, a remarkably hot year.

    Uh oh, someone didn’t read the article.

    Global warming is taking a break that could last for another 10 years or so.

    So that would make 20 years of no warming. The blip is becoming a blimp.

  110. 2. Global warming theory does not assert that human inputs are the only forces that cause changes.

    That is not what I hear from global warming stories in the media. The impression I get is that global warming is caused entirely by western industrial civilization and the biggest offender is America.

  111. That is Blasphemy! They are all completely unbiased, Vulcan like people with big degrees in measureing the Earch’s temperature!

    Well, Guy, I have been arguing that this is true of both sides.

    There are people whose reasoning goes:

    1. Pollution sucks.

    2. It would be nice if pollution went away.

    3. I read about this theory that, if true, would make it easier for me to get the public to give me broader powers to make pollution go away.

    4. Since I want those powers, I have decided that this theory is true, and I will scrounge around for any evidence I can find that supports the theory.

    But there are also people whose reasoning goes:

    1. If global warming theory is true, those evil socialists will use it to take freedom away.

    2. I don’t like those evil socialists.

    3. Therefore, I am sure global warming theory isn’t true.

    Now, you wouldn’t happen to be one of these two types of people, would you, Guy?

    It’s OK if you are. I find myself slipping into the second paradigm all the time. It’s a constant temptation.

  112. Notice how the goalposts keep moving.

    We can’t directly test whether global warming will be a serious problem over the next 100 years.

    The existence of global warming.

    The scientific consensus about global warming.

    Human contribution to global warming.

    The seriousness of global warming.

    The level of temperature increase.

    Just keep moving from one to another, and you can keep yourself from getting pinned down on anything.

  113. Unsubstantive Kurt, I can’t speak to the “impressions” you get from “the media.”

  114. Fluffy,

    Environmental science attracts more crusaders. I generally only encounter popularizations of science, but the “media bio” of many researchers in the field starts out “I read Rachel Carson in high school and wanted to do something” or something similar. And that’s a way to end up producing bad science.

    Again, I don’t buy it.

    I work in a field (developmental disabilities) that is MORE vulnerable to this danger than climate science (it’s for the children after all), and yet I see vigorous debate from all directions. A put up or shut up attitude prevents the crusaders from getting traction for more than a brief interlude. The Austism/Vaccine debate is an example. The crusaders trying to prove the problem ran into the crusaders trying to prove it wasn’t. Climate science has both kinds of crusaders…just like any field. And both can get funding if they show that they have the scientific chops.

    Scientists are vulnerable to group think, but the process takes that into account. In fact, a case can be made that the field of science currently most threatened by group think is theoretical physics…the hardest of sciences.

    (that case is made here: http://www.thetroublewithphysics.com/)

  115. If it was determined that global warming was not a serious problem, what would happen to funding for climatology? It was a stupid assertion,

    I think you’re getting confused and upset, joe. You already agreed with that assertion, remember? Pollen? _____?

  116. Uh oh, someone didn’t read the article.

    You got me, I assumed you were making the same reality-challenged assertion about average temperatures since 1997 that you have made in the past.

    So that would make 20 years of no warming.

    Oh, look, you are.

  117. Now, you wouldn’t happen to be one of these two types of people, would you, Guy?

    No.

  118. The Austism/Vaccine debate is an example.

    Great example, there’s a lot of junk science on that.

    Then there was the C-section thing that made John Edwards rich.

    Fen-phen was another example. Also breast implants.

    3. I read about this theory that, if true, would make it easier for me to get the public to give me broader powers to make pollution go away.

    4. Since I want those powers, I have decided that this theory is true, and I will scrounge around for any evidence I can find that supports the theory.

    Did you know that Dr. James Hansen, global warming icon, did computer modelling in the 1970s that showed global cooling would kill us all?

    Just guess what the culprit was.

  119. joe

    Wrong. Further research has found that the Earch behaves exactly as global warming theor would predict.

    Not unless global warming theory explains why the earth is not warming. I suppose that’s a minor detail.

  120. Why would I get upset about an argument that is going so well?

    You already agreed with that assertion, remember? No, I didn’t

    Pollen? Yes, another terrific example of how a field – immunology – will continue to receive a great deal of funding, even if a particular theory in that field is overturned. If pollen allergy is proven not to exist, there will be even more research into what is causing people to have immunological reactions.

    You made a stupid assertion here, TallDave: If it was determined that global warming was not a serious problem, what would happen to funding for climatology? I’d stop drawing attention to it, and look for a more promising line of argument, but that’s just me.

  121. You made a stupid assertion here, TallDave: If it was determined that global warming was not a serious problem, what would happen to funding for climatology?

    LOL You’re actually disagreeing with that?

    If it was found an asteroid was going to hit the Earth, would asteroid research funding:

    a) decrease
    b) increase
    c) no change at all

  122. James,

    Not unless global warming theory explains why the earth is not warming.

    How many times do you think I’ll have to mention the eternal issue of statistical noise in annual temperature data, before at least one of the “skeptics” manages to come to grips with it?

    If you cherry pick a particularly hot year and carefully define your time-frame to get the result you want, you can get the result you want. Congratulations.

  123. LOL You’re actually disagreeing with that?

    Yes, and I’ve given you two examples now. And other commenters have called you out on the difference between a theory and a field.

    And your response Is “LOL.”

    Typical.

  124. Pollen? Yes, another terrific example of how a field – immunology – will continue to receive a great deal of funding,

    Yes, but pollen research would decrease.

    A better example would be: if immune response was found not to be a serious problem, would immune research funding decline?

  125. TallDave,

    Autism/Vaccine…

    Great example, there’s a lot of junk science on that.

    Not really.

    There was junk science involved, just like any issue, but by and large the issue was studied appropriately…starting with the original study proposing the link (which was good science showing a potential biologically plausible mechanism), and continuing today with studies in the field of genetics to see if that mechanism might be a problem for a very small subset of those with Autism.

  126. And your response Is “LOL.”

    Because as usual your arguments are simply hilarious.

    OK then.

    If it was found an asteroid was going to hit the Earth in 2100, would asteroid space research funding:

    a) decrease
    b) increase
    c) no change at all

    If it was later found out that the asteroid was not, in fact, going to hit Earth, would research funding then

    a) decrease
    b) increase
    c) no change at all

  127. Unsubstantive Kurt, I can’t speak to the “impressions” you get from “the media.”

    True, you can’t, but you could say “I read plenty of articles/watch plenty of news programs that say suburban american living isn’t the only cause of global warming”

    That is, if there was a plethora of such articles/programs.

    As I said before, the constant theme form global warming alarmists is “It’s totally our fault and if we don’t do something drastic NOW, we are doomed!!”

  128. Yes, but pollen research would decrease.

    Sigh.

    Here, once again, are your words: If it was determined that global warming was not a serious problem, what would happen to funding for climatology?

    Global warming. Climatology.

    Global warming. Climatology.

    A better example would be: if immune response was found not to be a serious problem, would immune research funding decline?

    Global warming. Climatology.
    Immunology. Immunology.

    This is not difficult, TallDave. This is what you skeptics do – deliberately work not to know things. And it shows.

    There is no misunderstanding here. You get exactly what’s wrong with your argument.

  129. Oops meant to strike asteroid in the above, not italicize.

  130. Global warming. Climatology.

    So you seriously think that if global warming was found to be a nonissue, there would be no effect on climatology funding?

    And you claim to be seriously arguing this?

  131. If it was found an asteroid was going to hit the Earth in 2100, would asteroid space research funding:

    Global warming. Climatology.

    Asteroid. Asteroid.

    It was a dumbass assertion that disproving a particular theory in a field would cause funding for researchers in that field to dry up.

    Global warming is a theory.

    Climatology is a field.

  132. A better example would be: if immune response was found not to be a serious problem, would immune research funding decline?

    That’s a bad examnple, because most immune research has nothing to with pollen, whereas quite a large proportion of climate science is about global warming — particularly for those climatologists actually working on global warming, who would be most affected by funding cuts.

  133. OK then. Asteroid, space.

    If it was found an asteroid was going to hit the Earth in 2100, would space research funding:

    a) decrease
    b) increase
    c) no change at all

    If it was later found out that the asteroid was not, in fact, going to hit Earth, would space research funding then

    a) decrease
    b) increase
    c) no change at all

  134. So you seriously think that if global warming was found to be a nonissue, there would be no effect on climatology funding?

    If the scientific consensus on global warming, as it currently exists, was disproven, climatologists would get funding to pursue new avenues of research to explain the observed phenomena in the Earth’s climate.

    Yes, I am seriously arguing that, becasue it’s rather obvious.

    The “theory” element of “global warming theory” is not that there are changes going on in the Earth’s atmosphere and surface – those are observed, confirmed data – but why those changes are occuring.

  135. “Hey you guys, quit arguing with joe. He declared you guys wrong already”

    Yes but he’s only 4′ 11″ in his high-heel workboots.

    He can’t be authoritative on anything.

  136. If it was found that there was no global warming trend, funds for research into global warming would dry up.

    If it was found that there was no such thing as “contagious disease,” funds for vaccine research would dry up.

    But those things have been repeatedly confirmed. They are objective reality. Even people like Ron Bailey, who held out beyond all objective reason, have been forced to admit that.

    So, no, climatologists are in no danger of seeing funding cuts, even if the existing explanations of that objective reality are found to be inadequate. They’d receive funding to come up with new, better explanations.

  137. Yes, I am seriously arguing that, becasue it’s rather obvious.

    It’s rather obviously wrong. A serious problem gets more attention and money than a nonproblem.

    It’s rather amazing anyone would argue otherwise.

  138. If it was found that there was no global warming trend, funds for research into global warming would dry up.

    By Jove, I think he’s got it!

    So, no, climatologists are in no danger of seeing funding cuts,

    Oh, and you were so close.

  139. Not unless global warming theory explains why the earth is not warming.

    Because it is Climate Change now. Silly.

    Any temperature change is evidence that we are bad and need to be stopped.

  140. I think there is a lack of clear distinction here.

    There is a field of study: climatology, which has no particular stake in AGW

    There is a theory underlying AGW, so far it has held up to most tests. Those tests are conducted on…

    Specific Hypotheses…

    So, for instance, the hypothesis that the Temperature in 2100 will be X if we don’t do anything is used to refute the theory that humans contribute to GW.

    While there is a legitimate case to be made that the hypothesis is untestable, that is not true of the theory, which produces many testable (and actively tested) hypotheses.

    Conflating these levels in the discussion results in mush.

  141. There is a field of study: climatology, which has no particular stake in AGW

    Except for lots of AGW-related funding.

    So, no, climatologists are in no danger of seeing funding cuts, even if the existing explanations of that objective reality are found to be inadequate. They’d receive funding to come up with new, better explanations.

    Not if the explanations come from another field.

    http://maggiesfarm.anotherdotcom.com/archives/4754-Scared-to-Death.html

  142. NM,

    So, the current models can not possibly be tested against historical observations and see if they can “predict” current trends?

  143. Now, you wouldn’t happen to be one of these two types of people, would you, Guy?

    No.

    As a general rule, the person who strongly denies that they personally can be subject to confirmation bias is the person most likely to be subject to confirmation bias. If you can’t bring yourself to admit that it exists, you can’t make any serious effort to guard against it.

  144. Fluffy,

    Cute. I amswered your overly narrow question that had only two choices.

    Did not mean to confuse you, or your script.

  145. and I did not mean to confuse me with my spelling . . .

  146. So, the current models can not possibly be tested against historical observations and see if they can “predict” current trends?

    That’s actually what they do: they run computer models with various inputs. Then they come back and say “See, according to this model, which predicts the last 70 years accurately, in 100 years Florida will be underwater.”

    The problem is, we keep getting new inputs that change the outcome. Ocean temps, solar cycles, etc.

    As a programmer, I can tell it’s pie to match an existing set of data with an alogorithm. Predicting future data, well, that’s a whole ‘nother story.

  147. TD,

    shhh! I like totally knew that, but was waiting for the NM lecture on why my question was so stupid!

    don’t tell him, you will ruin the result.

  148. TD,

    BTW, I really liked the days when I was a database developer, never was a “real live programmer”. Now I do boring stuff.

  149. While there is a legitimate case to be made that the hypothesis is untestable, that is not true of the theory, which produces many testable (and actively tested) hypotheses.

    But, as with cosmology, they aren’t ever directly testable.

    Gravity I can test directly. I drop a ball, it accelerates at 10m/s/s every single time. Therefore, I can predict that if I drop a ball in 2100, it will fall at 10m/s/s.

    Climate I can’t test directly. I can’t run the Earth’s climate for 100 years over and over again. The closest I can get is to try to build a computer model of how I think it works.

  150. BTW, I really liked the days when I was a database developer, never was a “real live programmer”. Now I do boring stuff.

    Yeah, I like working with embedded database languages. They want to promote me to the boring stuff, but I have several other sources of income so I keep saying no.

  151. Does it make sense anymore to describe someone as “to the economic left of the Hungarian Socialist Party”? Ferenc and his crew in Budapest have steadily been pushing for privatizations and various austerity measures — in stark contrast, I might add, to the nationalist opposition.

  152. Perhaps a bit like calling a country “more democratic than the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.”

  153. TallDave,

    You really think there are no directly testable consequences of the AGW theory?

    As for predicting results from an existing data set…if done correctly it can produce a valid test of a model. It requires appropriate blinding, which is more difficult with retrospective than prospective research, but not impossible.

    Broadly stating “As a programmer, I can tell it’s pie to match an existing set of data with an alogorithm” seriously mis-characterizes how retrospective validation of a computer model would be carried out.

  154. TD,

    Yea, the boring stuff does have it’s challenges though. Like this silly XML fad swirling around me.

    Back to the latest memo draft . . .

  155. Guy,

    shhh! I like totally knew that…

    I refer you to Fluffy’s comments.
    His two choices seem to include one that describes you pretty accurately to outside observers.

  156. NM,

    Good thing that outside observers come without biases! Whew! More desperatly needed analysis from the joe corner.

    Thank you so much. I must not be cured yet. I need more work.

  157. Czech President Vaclav Klaus, that great post-communist ? not anti-communist, mind you, but post-communist ? has been dining out internationally for two decades on comparing whatever it is Anglo-American center-rightists despise (the European Union, the Euro, global warming alarmists, George Soros) to communism.

    Huh?

  158. Further research has found that the Earch behaves exactly as global warming theor would predict.

    Except when it doesn’t. You know, with northern ice packs replenishing themselves, southern ice packs continuing to grow, global average temperatures plateauing for the last 8 years, a nice cold winter, etc. etc.

    If you cherry pick a particularly hot year and carefully define your time-frame to get the result you want, you can get the result you want. Congratulations.

    One might point out that the warmenistas are in the bad habit of also cherry-picking the starting point of their claimed trends as well.

    But regardless of where you start your trend-line, temperatures have basically plateaued the last 8 or so years. I don’t think that was in anyone’s model.

  159. I heard that the Exxon shareholders voted down the proposal to split the Chairman and CEO position being pushed by some trust fund babies who happened to be named Rockefeller and various state employee pension fund managers engaging in political grandstanding about global warming.

    Sweet!

  160. RC Dean,

    I don’t think that was in anyone’s model.

    I am pretty sure it was in expected by some of the models.

    Related?
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2007/aug/10/weather.uknews

  161. In other news, a high percentage of UFOlogists believe we are being visited by exteraterrestrials. Toss in the Yetti believers and now we are talking party!

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