Climate

Michael Crichton, world’s most famous global warming denier, dies

Michael Crichton's State of FearFamed global warming denier and science-fiction author, Michael Crichton, has died in Los Angeles. He became famous as a pulse-pounding writer who helped create the techno-thriller genre with best-sellers (and hit movies) like Jurassic Park and The Andromeda Strain.

Then he used his fame in the most destructive way possible — to cast doubt on the overwhelming scientific understanding of global warming, to urge people not to take action against the gravest preventable threat to the health and well-being of future generations.

In 2004, he published State of Fear, a deeply flawed novel that attacks climate science and climate scientists. Although a work of fiction, the book had a clear political agenda, as evidenced by Crichton’s December 7, 2004 press release:

STATE OF FEAR raises critical questions about the facts we believe in, without question, on the strength of esteemed experts and the media. Although the story is fiction, Michael Crichton writes from a firm foundation of actual research challenging common assumptions about global warming.

The mistake-riddled book (see below) contains a gratuitous Appendix titled “Why Politicized Science Is Dangerous,” where Crichton draws a direct and lengthy analogy between climate science and eugenics and Soviet biology under Lysenko, where all dissent to the party line was crushed and some Soviet geneticists were executed. With no evidence whatsoever, he claims, that in climate science, “open and frank discussion of the data, and of the issues, is being suppressed.”

Sadly, Crichton chose to use his fame to smear the work of countless scientists who are trying to predict and prevent the unintended consequences of humanity’s dangerous experiment with unrestricted emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases.

In a 2006 New Republic interview, he articulated the twin credos of global warming denial and delay:

If you just look at the science, I, at least, am underwhelmed. This may or may not be a problem, but it is far from the most serious problem. If you want to do something, [limiting emissions] is not what to do. We don’t at this moment have good technology to do this, if, in fact, it’s necessary to do it.”

Such is the road to ruin. Those who advance such a view deserve the strongest of labels, the strongest of condemnation.

Crichton spoke frequently against climate scientists and climate action, including public debates and testimony at a Senate hearing chaired by James Inhofe (R-OK), where Crichton took the opportunity to once again accuse the entire scientific community of fudging the science of climate change.

Crichton even helped persuade President Bush that he was wise to do nothing to address global warming. In 2006, Fred Barnes, executive editor of The Weekly Standard, wrote of Bush’s opposition to the Kyoto global warming treaty:

Though he didn’t say so publicly, Bush is a dissenter on the theory of global warming…. He avidly read Michael Crichton’s 2004 novel State of Fear, whose villain falsifies scientific studies to justify draconian steps to curb global warming. Crichton himself has studied the issue extensively and concluded that global warming is an unproven theory and that the threat is vastly overstated. Early in 2005, political adviser Karl Rove arranged for Crichton to meet with Bush at the White House. They talked for an hour and were in near-total agreement.

Such is Crichton’s legacy to future generations.

As a one-time M.I.T. techno-geek, I was once an enormous fan of Crichton’s work. But then he wrote “that rarest of books, an ­intellectually dishonest novel,” as I wrote in Technology Review three years ago.

Crichton made a fortune exploiting the public’s fears: Prey (fear of nanotechnology), Rising Sun (fear of Japanese technological supremacy), and Jurassic Park (fear of biotechnology). These books attack the hubris of those who use technology without wisdom. In Prey, he warns, “The total system we call the biosphere is so complicated that we cannot know in advance the consequences of anything that we do.”

Given the author’s past, one might have expected that a Crichton book on global warming would warn about the risk of catastrophic climate change — the unintended consequences of ­humanity’s reckless, irreversible experiment on the biosphere. But State of Fear took the reverse view. Crichton argued that the environmental and scientific communities have fabricated the threat. He wanted readers to fear those who argue that climate change is real, caused by human technologies, and dangerous.

Because the evidence for–and scientific understanding of–the human causes of climate change is now so overwhelming, Crichton could not make his case simply on the evidence. Instead, he had to distort the facts and accuse the scientific community of bad faith in order to make his case. And he did so, repeatedly.

Crichton portrayed environmentalists as uninformed, hypocritical, or simply evil. He created a scientist-hero, John Kenner, to save the day. (For added credibility, Kenner was an MIT professor — though he sounded more like Rush Limbaugh than any MIT faculty member I’ve met.) Speaking through Kenner, Crichton made a faulty case against the environmentalists. Kenner said, for instance, that a real NASA climatologist, James Hansen, has been discredited for overestimating the impact of global warming “by three hundred percent” during 1988 testimony in Congress. In fact, Hansen’s prediction was very close to accurate. The smear Crichton cited was created 10 years later, when global-warming skeptic Patrick Michaels misrepresented the testimony (see RealClimate’s “Hansen’s 1988 projections“).

Crichton also strained to discredit global-warming fears by presenting them as faddish. He had one environmentalist say (incorrectly), “in the 1970s, all the climate scientists believed an ice age was coming.” For a debunking of this classic denier myth, see “Another denier talking point — ‘global cooling’ — bites the dust.”

A full factual debunking of the book can be found on realclimate.org — “Michael Crichton’s State of Confusion II: Return of the Science” and “Michael Crichton’s State of Confusion.”

Crichton’s dissembling even leaked into the book’s bibliography, where Crichton mischaracterizes the landmark 2002 National Research Council report Abrupt Climate Change, claiming, “The text concludes that abrupt climate change might occur sometime in the future, triggered by mechanisms not yet understood.” That is simply not true. The report concludes plainly, “Abrupt climate changes were especially common when the climate system was being forced to change most rapidly. Thus, greenhouse warming … may increase the possibility of large, abrupt, and unwelcome regional or global climatic events” (emphasis added to both quotes).

Why would Crichton mischaracterize the report in his bibliography? Because one of his main goals in the book was to undermine the case that global warming causes abrupt climate change and extreme weather events. In his story, a mainstream environmental group plots to create extreme weather events that will cause the deaths of thousands of people timed to coincide with a conference on abrupt climate change in order to trick the public into accepting global warming as truth. In a bizarre coincidence, the book’s climax had the evil environmentalists carefully plan a seismic tsunami-just weeks before an actual tsunami devastated Southeast Asia.

But the truth is stronger than fiction. Seismic tsunamis are caused by earth tremors. They are not caused by global warming! Any climate scientist knows that. This was a stunning blunder by Crichton, utterly underming any claim that he understands climate science.

His PR firm issued a news release about his death:

Through his books, Michael Crichton served as an inspiration to students of all ages, challenged scientists in many fields, and illuminated the mysteries of the world in a way we could all understand.

No.

Had Crichton never engaged in the global warming arena, had he never written State of Fear, his impressive body of work would probably have ensured a positive legacy for decades to come. But by becoming perhaps the most famous popular global warming denier and delayer in the world, he ensured that future generations — who will have to suffer the horrific consequences humanity’s denial and delay — will remember him primarily for his anti-scientific effort to accelerate humanity’s self-destruction.

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85 Responses to Michael Crichton, world’s most famous global warming denier, dies

  1. Dano says:

    Died of heatstroke.

    Ba-da-BUM!

    Thank you, thank you ladies and germs.

    Best,

    D

  2. Oh, the irony. How apropos.

  3. de mortuis nil nisi bonum…

  4. Rick C says:

    I wish to not speak ill of the dead but Michael Crichton, who has very little scientific background, caused much harm to the public’s perception and portrayed the science of global warming as one of controversy instead of consensus

  5. Bud says:

    “But by becoming perhaps the most famous popular global warming denier and delayer in the world, he ensured that future generations — who will have to suffer the horrific consequences humanity’s denial and delay — will remember him primarily for his anti-scientific effort to accelerate humanity’s self-destruction.”

    I think this will quickly become a footnote in history, Joe. Even now, he is more associated with Jurassic Park than he is State of Fear, and in years to come it will be the likes of Bush and Inhofe rather than Crichton who will be associated with political inertia over climate change. Just as, if the world does get its act sorted, history will record the names of the leaders who finally accepted responsibility, rather than those who pushed them to action.

  6. Jim O' says:

    Ho hum, Micheal who?

  7. jorleh says:

    There are people around who do anything for money. Miserable, but such is the human nature.

  8. I wonder of Rep. Joe Barton will have something to say about this.

    I still cringe at the memory of that -climate hearing- inquisition he conducted with Thomas Mann the Hockey stick theory scientist pitted against the -climate change expert- science fiction writer, Crichton.

    It epitomized the Bush Error luddite takeover.

  9. Kevin Lahey says:

    I think Crichton will be remembered for his anti-global warming stance. It will not be forgotten.

    When I think of him I think of Lindbergh. He is remembered for his flight across the Atlantic, but most people who know anything about him know of his Nazi Sympathies. But in the end, people like Lindbergh didn’t affect when the US joined WWII nor how hard we fought during it.

    On the other hand, people like Crichton actual have delayed serious attempts to stop Global Warming and are today slowing real action and are working hard to stop future action. Even when the future action will probably have beneficial side effects.

    All because they want to believe in some weird fantasy world where they are saving the planet from tree huggers.

  10. Richard says:

    I made the mistake of getting into a debate with a global warming inactivist on Autoblog Green four months ago, and he used the typical inactivist tactic of throwing so much shit against the wall and hoping that some of it might stick. He kept referring to Braithwaite’s study on glaciers as proof that global warming required more research. And although I am fairly well informed on most inactivist talking points, I couldn’t find any trusted sources who could tell me about Braithewaite’s study and how it related to global warming.

    In absolute frustration, I went right to the source, as asked Roger Braithwaite at the University of Manchester about his study of glaciers, and what that means about the science behind global warming.

    His kind reply told me that his 1996 study said nothing about global warming, and that his later studies did — indeed — show that the world’s glaciers are retreating. He also told me that his work had appeared on many inactivist web sites over the years, and that Michael Crichton was to blame for misrepresenting his research in his novel.

  11. Ben says:

    Pedro: His death doesn’t change how he lived his life. He was a bad person.

    His actions are partially responsible for the United States not signing on to Kyoto. By extension, any suffering caused by that delay is partially his fault.

  12. Greg N says:

    Only a couple of weeks ago I met someone convinced that AGW was a scam.

    Some mild probing revealed why: “I read a book by Michael Crichton and…”

    It remains a convincing piece of propoganda. The damage will live on for many more years, I’m afraid.

  13. Ben, saying Michael Chricton was a bad person because you disagree with his views is ridiculous. That is what people in debate call a straw man attack. Not following the party line of environmentalism doesn’t make someone a BAD person.

    The notion that there is any “suffering” caused by not signing the Kyoto accords is silly. Actually, the Kyoto accords would cause immediate suffering because they would cause economic hardship-higher prices and loss of jobs-maybe even yours. I think we have enough economic problems as it is.

    Having clean energy is a worthwhile goal, even if there were no global warming. But it has to come about with a sensible approach, not in some emergency fashion brought about by doomsday propaganda. The fact is the doomsday scenarios promoted by many scientists are in fact religious propaganda. Having a contradictory voice like Chrichton around was healthy.

    I for one don’t dispute global warming is happening. But I do dispute the doomsday nonsense that is being promoted.

    [JR: You are certainly entitled to “dispute” what the scientific evidence and actual observations make clear. Why anybody should listen to you, as opposed to the world’s top climate scientists writing peer-reviewed studies and reports, however, is the question I need answered.]

  14. Raven says:

    Michael Crichton deserves kudos for calling attention to the dubious and uncertain science of CO2 and may have help saved the US from wasting resources fighting an imaginary problem. I realize that none of the posters here believe it is an imaginary problem, however, your belief does not turn a scientific hypothesis into a proven fact. Only time will tell us who is correct.

    I remember Michael Crichton lecture where he went through the history of doomsday cults and pointed out how every one of them was mostly wrong and the problem either did not materialize or fixed itself. All of examples he used relied on science to make predictions of the future.

  15. Rick C says:

    Richard,

    I had the same experience you had debating a denier. He threw everything including the kitchen sink. Most of it was refutable but the problem is that even though the science is well established you are compelled to dispel all of the denier talking points and if you don’t have ironclad evidence the contrary they can come back and say, aha! This is the case most of the time even when the climate models have been tested and do forecast accurately.

  16. Sascha says:

    Global Warming for everyone!

  17. Pedro Gil says:

    Ben: Someone against signing Kyoto is a “Bad Person”? Simple as that…. I see … It is good that the wold is so simple, imagine if it was not… uff…

  18. der pommer says:

    i dont like climatists,
    thay are ideologists

  19. Jean says:

    PLEASE Will someone explain to me why physicians do not “believe in Global Warming”? I am a nurse.I talk with the Doctors I work with about this issue.They respond there are nature temperature fluctuations and there is no proof GW is human caused..They must be teaching this in Medicalschool..It is a very common reply..Here in Oklahoma they love Sen Inhofe,who was just re elected by a large margin.Michael C…went to Harvard Med school did he not? They also say no one is taking intoaccount all the methane produced from Feed lots..I have good answers for them and they are learning,but what IS their Problem science is science…Jean

  20. David B. Benson says:

    Jean — You might care to direct them to “The Discovery of Global Warming” by Spencer Weart:

    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.html

    Review of above:

    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F04E7DF153DF936A35753C1A9659C8B63

    Also Joe Romm’s “Hell and High Water” and Mark Lynas’s “Six Degrees”, and “Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast” by David Archer;
    sample chapter 4 on greenhouse gases available as a pdf here:
    http://forecast.uchicago.edu/samples.html

  21. rpauli says:

    Denial and delusion.

    Humans are optimized for survival challenges that last about 30 seconds. Anything more than that is a long term stressor that will be ignored, forgotten, denied or missed — all until it rises up and bites.

    Thats OK because eventually there will be plenty in the future.

  22. Hundeblick says:

    Most countries that signed Kyoto didn’t even try to fulfill the protocol.

    I admired the Americans for their honesty when they refused to sign it.

  23. Hundeblick says:

    …and you should all just take a break and listen to yourselves:

    “Deniers” sounds like “Infidels” from your mouth.

  24. Joe says:

    Hundleblick:

    Why should anybody take a break? You must be new to this blog.

    BTW, being a Denier is much worse than being an Infidel.

  25. Tilo says:

    “Then he used his fame in the most destructive way possible — to cast doubt on the overwhelming scientific understanding of global warming, to urge people not to take action against the gravest preventable threat to the health and well-being of future generations.”

    What is your theory on why he would do that?

    Rick:
    “This is the case most of the time even when the climate models have been tested and do forecast accurately.”

    Can you give me an example of a climate model forcasting accurately.

  26. Kon Deeler says:

    So Michael Crichton made a fortune exploiting the public’s fears about Global Warming. Big Deal. So has Al Gore and he is much less of a scientist than Crichton.

  27. Tilo says:

    “So Michael Crichton made a fortune exploiting the public’s fears about Global Warming.”

    Actually, expoiting the public’s fears about GW would have been the easy way to go. He went the other direction and tried to make the point that there was nothing to fear in global warming.

  28. global warming comes and goes says:

    I wish all irreverent vultures here a dolorous mortal disease as well.

  29. Anna says:

    Shades of Orson Scott Card, only much, much more damaging.

    Does he have close friends, or a spouse, who could shed light on his motives?
    (kids headed for college, maybe?)

    Because I have trouble believing that anyone with a functioning brain could sincerely hold such views.

  30. Tilo says:

    “Does he have close friends, or a spouse, who could shed light on his motives?
    (kids headed for college, maybe?)”

    How would that be relevant? He obviously had the ability to make films and make money on a variety of subjects. I doubt that the anti AGW stuff was one of his bigger earners. It certainly wasn’t the gold mine that AGW is for Gore.

    “Because I have trouble believing that anyone with a functioning brain could sincerely hold such views.”

    That believe goes in both directions.

    What would Roy Spencer’s motives be? He had a nice job with NASA and was getting awards for his excellent work, then ended up having to leave because the Clinton administration wouldn’t allow him to express his opinions.

    What would Richard Lindzen’s motives be? He’s a professor in academia where it would be much easier on him to go along with the orthodoxy. If he pushed AGW he could do daily interviews with a fawning media, much like Hansen.

    Same question applies to Craig Lohle, Anders Moberg, Hakken Grudd, Roger Pielke. What is their motive? Do they all have secret Swiss bank accounts where Exxon is sending them millions?

  31. Bob Wallace says:

    Do the climate change models factor in high volume hot air releases by deniers?

    That could be what is driving polar ice melt at the observed accelerated rates….

  32. Tilo says:

    Bob:
    “Do the climate change models factor in high volume hot air releases by deniers?”

    Just out of curiosity, is there anyone on this site that actually knows something about AGW that I can debate with, or is this another place where alarmists come to pretend that massed ignorance creates informed consensus.

    Tell you what Bob, why don’t you read this and then we can take another shot at informed debate rather than going straight for the cheap shots.

    http://junkscience.com/mar08/Lindzen-Rahmstorf-Exchange.pdf

    “That could be what is driving polar ice melt at the observed accelerated rates….”

    Are you talking about these?

    http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm

  33. Henry Galt says:

    What global warming?

    http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm

    Your .. ahem.. piece is followed by a lot of bad tasting opinion based on zero experiential discovery.

    IT IS COLD OUTSIDE.

  34. MemeInjector3000 says:

    TILO:

    > What is their motive?

    It’s called dogmatic ideology. Always a bad thing for science.

    > Is there anyone on this site that actually knows
    > something about AGW

    You’ve already proven yourself to be beneath criticism. Why bother with deluded true believers parroting the same old talking points? Life is too short.

    > http://junkscience.com

    Case closed…

  35. Tilo says:

    “It’s called dogmatic ideology. ”

    Why would he want to have such a dogmatic ideology.

    “Why bother with deluded true believers parroting the same old talking points?”

    So you’d rather just chant the same brain dead mantra forever in sync with the cult members.

    “Case closed…”

    So if that site put up a paper by James Hansen, it would prove that it was worthless. I didn’t know that truth was relative to the site it came from. But it’s good of you to let me know that your mind is completely calcified. Just consider that anything I post is not for you.

  36. commonsense says:

    The fanatical tone of most commenters on this blog is typical of cultists.

    [JR: Rest of email deleted. Sorry. You have obviously mistaken this for a blog that runs ad hominem anti-scientific comments by deniers. You’ll be happier at JunkScience. This blog and the vast majority of the commenters are focused on what the science and the latest observations tell us about our climate predicament and on how we can avoid catastrophic climate impacts that are inevitable following a business as usual emissions strategy.]

  37. EyesWideOpen says:

    Only a couple of weeks ago I met someone convinced that AGW was a scam.

    Some mild probing revealed why: “I actually looked at the facts…, I actually looked at the science:
    – Current temperatures no warmer than they were 30 years ago
    – Impact of oceanic oscillations and the fact that water holds far more heat than air
    – Bandwidth saturation and what that means to any incremental impacts from increased CO2 concentrations
    – The sun is important to climate!
    – Clouds and related negative feedbacks need to be considered!

    Huh! Who’d have thunk!

  38. vivendi says:

    @Bob Wallace: “That could be what is driving polar ice melt …”

    Have you seen any polar ice melt recently? Remember what the tought you in school? Water freezes at temps slightly below 0°C and remains frozen unless it gets warmer than 0. The air the polar caps rarely does.

  39. vivendi says:

    JR: “This blog and the vast majority of the commenters are focused on what the science and the latest observations tell us”

    And all the commenters are scientists? Or just believers? Does any of them understand why past temperatures are reconstructed using trees as thermometers? Has any of them compared actual temperatures and CO2 levels with IPCC projections?

    [JR: Some are scientists. The vast majority (not you, obviously) understand that science is not a matter of belief, but in analyzing actual observations and testing theories against those observations. In the particular case of global warming, we are especially lucky that the nations of the world created a process whereby the world’s top scientists periodically review the state of the science and report on it. This blog regular reports on the comparison between what the IPCC models had projected and real-world observations. In the overwhelming majority of cases, the actual climate is changing faster than the models had predicted, strongly suggesting that there are amplifying or positive feedbacks the models had neglected or underestimated. Thanks for asking. BTW, trees are one of a great many proxies for temperature, so I have no idea what point you are making there.]

  40. vivendi says:

    @Rick: “This is the case most of the time even when the climate models have been tested and do forecast accurately.”

    Climate models are no forecasts. Read the IPCC reports at least once. They clearly state that they are neither forecasts nor projections and that they can’t be because they only consider a few of all possible causal parameters.
    And the models don’t match reality at all, despite steadily increasing CO2 emissions. Temperatures and Arctic ice extent are back at the 1979 level, all warming since then is gone. What are the causes?

  41. vivendi says:

    JR: “trees are one of a great many proxies for temperature, so I have no idea what point you are making there.”

    Have you ever seen a paper which shows that:
    1) there is a linear association between temperature and tree rings? (e.g. are tree rings in the tropics larger than in the subtropics)
    2) there is no other influence (extent of snow cover, rainfall, wind) on the thickness of tree rings?

    “… in the overwhelming majority of cases”
    Science is not about majorities and minorities, science is about measurable and falsifiable facts.

    [JR: Uhh, that’s why you use multiple proxies. Your final sentence is too funny to even reply to. Learn what science is before you say what it is not.]

  42. Tilo says:

    “This blog regular reports on the comparison between what the IPCC models had projected and real-world observations. In the overwhelming majority of cases, the actual climate is changing faster than the models had predicted,”

    Not to be a pest, but could you point me to one of your threads where IPCC model projections are compared with real-world observations?

    And can you give me a few of those cases where the actual climate is changing faster than the models had predicted.

    [JR: You can find a list of them here.]

  43. Ad o lf Hit l e r says:

    @JR Are YOU a member in my new Global Warming NSDAP ?

    Al Gore is my Gauleiter for the USA !

  44. Andrew Robinson says:

    For heaven’s sake, those of you who believe the IPCC is somewhere close to infallibility, just read the work of Prof. Roger A. Pielke, Sr. at climatesci.org, one of your very best professors in climate science. (GreenhouseGate really is only a matter of time… And boy are some politicians going to “pay”.)

    [JR: I guess you don’t really understand what the IPCC does. It primarily reviews and synthesizes the state of the scientific literature. And, of course, every member government — including the Bush administration, China, and Saudi Arabia — must sign off on every word in the summaries. “Infallibility” is a very well odd word to describe it. It does a pretty good job of synthesizing the scientific literature, but it almost certainly underestimates the impacts that we face and the speed with which they will hit us, as I have repeatedly blogged.]

    [Here (ClimateSci) the complex systems that are climates sit well with the fundamentals of chaos theory from Lorenz and the near zero predictive capability of today’s multi-decadal global climate models, alongside new ways of engaging in climate science that are likely to bear real fruit for policymakers in detailed and thoughtful ways; compare and contrast with most AR2,3,4/WG1/SummaryforPolicymakers thinking and its (paraphrasing) “fairly,mainly,virtually” “certain” but utterly inept “science”.]

    Likewise, Crichton accepted that CO2 has an impact on global mean temperatures, just that anthropogenic CO2 is not decisive.

    [JR: “Decisive”? I’m afraid that statement is meaningless. CO2 is the primary greenhouse gas, and greenhouse gases are the primary cause of the warming that we have seen in recent decades. Crichton rejected that scientific understanding because he didn’t understand science.]

    Crichton was way nearer the mark than Al Gore could ever hope to be in his dreams. For a start he actually read the academic journals: can you actually imagine Gore engaging in anything approaching scholarship?

    Gore, just like the political elites around the world, wants “The Science”TM to be “Settled”TM so that he (they) can engage in “politicking”TM and use all this ramped up emotion to regulate us into his (their) political (and unfortunately our actual) future.

    Science needs scepticism in the raw, day in day out (coupled, of course with scientific ingenuity and creative elan): read up on Bronowski.

    Politics and Science should always be kept apart: they rely on different dimensions of reality, at least as appreciated by the human psyche.

    MC: RIP

    The IPCC, an institution who’s “rightness” preceded it, until it was disbanded.

    [JR: When the heck was the IPCC disbanded? Have you ever even talked to a climate scientist? They are the most skeptical people you’ll ever meet. You ideologues, on the other hand, except pretty much everything the few remaining deniers spew out.]

  45. Jim Clarke says:

    Joe wrote:

    “You have obviously mistaken this for a blog that runs ad hominem anti-scientific comments by deniers.”

    Well that would be silly! This is obviously a blog that runs ad hominem, anti-scientific comments about anyone who does not believe just as you do, Joe! The comments here are almost entirely ad hominem attacks against Michael Crichten. I doubt if anyone commenting, myself included, will ever match the mans accomplishments, but that is just irrelevant, isn’t it? You did not like him, so it is okay to say nasty things about him. You just can’t allow any nasty things to be said about yourselves, since you are obviously…what? Correct? Oh…that’s logical!

    [JR: You apparently do not understand the meaning of the word ad hominem. You claim that my piece on Michael Crichton is “almost entirely ad hominem.” Please Identified point by point the ad hominem arguments that I use. If you can’t do that, you will be placed on permanent moderation. In fact, my critique is fact-based, as everyone can see — it is Crichton who launches a series of ad hominem attacks and slanders against the entire scientific community.]

    “Ad hominem is a valid and worthy form of argumentation as long as it is directed against people I disagree with. If it is directed agains me, then it is not a valid form of argumentation, and can not appear on this website!”

    I was somewhat surprised to see that Joe got all the way through the first paragraph without an ad hominem attack on Michael Crichton. After that, however, the lead article is just a practice in how many different ad hominem attacks when can squeeze into a single ‘obituary’.

    I always enjoy a good discussion on climate change science. That is why I rarely visit this site. The Pope is more open to discussion about abortion than this sight is to discussions of the religion of man-made climate change.

    The true colors of ‘Climate Progress’ are really flying on this one!

    [JR: This entire comment of yours is ad hominem — you do not present a single factual argument.]

  46. commonsense says:

    JR, Jim Clarke’s description of your manner on this blog is accurate. Therefore *all* his arguments are factual.

    Given the way you handle this blog, you would make an excellent imam.

  47. Jack M says:

    “Seismic tsunamis are caused by earth tremors. They are not caused by global warming! Any climate scientist knows that. This was a stunning blunder by Crichton, utterly underming any claim that he understands climate science.”

    Yes, and cloning dinosaurs from ancient mosquitos trapped in amber is also quite impossible – another huge blunder, that is.

  48. Andrew Robinson says:

    JR,

    The IPCC distorts the reporting of the climate science literature, narrowing it to an AGW perspective. It was indeed set up to summarise the state of the science, but it has gone beyond its brief, one could argue to perpetuate its very existence. It is a bureacracy and it has a wider agenda as a servant of the UN’s FCCC’s ongoing political agenda. (The different working groups of the IPCC and the FCCC also use differing definitions of climate change which are allowed to mix in the minds of their intended recipients at will.)

    Human impacts on climates are many and varied, but that is too complex for public and political consumption. Politicians needing to “take action” need “simple” “take home” messages to “sell” to their electorates.

    The IPCC is therefore a profoundly negative force in delineating the complexities of the science involved.

    Water is the primary greenhouse gas: CO2 is a bit-part player. CO2 has been deemed to have a large role in the enhanced greenhouse effect, and so the models reflect that intuition. The models have no predictive power worthy of the name, and are not deemed to have it scientifically, and are merely sensitivity analysis techniques. However, they are written up as though they point to actual future realities.

    Pielke, Sr’s perspective is that anthropogenic aerosols and land use are (combined) of greater importance as human climate forcings than anthropogenic CO2. His approach is one take on how science can be done with honour.

    Pielke, Sr resigned from the IPCC in 1995 and has remained critical of it ever since.

    By the way, if rigorous observationally-based science can show that anthropogenic CO2 is decisively increasing global mean temperatures I will accept it. It is just that the science presented thus far does not show this. And stasis/cooling has been the order of the day global mean temperature wise of late.

    I am no ideologue.

    [JR: You are no ideologue, but like Crichton, you are basically a conspiracy theorist who is accusing the entire mainstream scientific community of fudging the results and somehow getting the representatives of every major government in the world to go along with them. This smear of the world’s leading scientists, many of whom I know quite well, is breathtaking in its scope but there is no evidence for it. Wow, you cite one old scientists who is critical. If you are aware of the history of science, then you know that when paradigm shifts occur, there are lots of stubborn old scientists who simply can’t accept the observational evidence and the theories of the best explain it.

    CO2 is the primary anthropogenic greenhouse gas. When I use the term greenhouse gas on this website I mean anthropogenic greenhouse gas, an exceedingly common shorthand. Water vapor is a feedback — and as I recently posted, yet another major study confirms that the observational data shows the IPCC has model this correctly (see Study: Water-vapor feedback is “strong and positive,” so we face “warming of several degrees Celsius”).

    I actually tend to agree with you that the IPCC has problems — but the real problems are the reverse of the ones that you say. Because it is a organization where essentially any country can veto any word in its summaries, it tends to reach bland, lowest-common-denominator conclusions that understate both the speed and magnitude of the climate threat. Again, I have blogged on this at great length.

    Anybody who thinks that the IPCC has overstated the danger simply isn’t paying close attention to what’s going on. The IPCC has grossly underestimated the rate of ice loss in the Arctic, grossly underestimated the rate of mass loss in the Greenland ice sheet, grossly underestimated the rate of mass loss in the Antarctic ice sheet, underestimated the rate of increase of sea level rise, underestimated the rate of expansion in the tropics, and the recent rate of growth in greenhouse gas emissions has exceeded the IPCC’s most pessimistic scenario.

    But it is your final claim — “if rigorous observationally-based science can show that anthropogenic CO2 is decisively increasing global mean temperatures I will accept it. It is just that the science presented thus far does not show this. And stasis/cooling has been the order of the day global mean temperature wise of late.” — that makes clear you are an ideologue.

    The Observational data overwhelmingly supports the anthropogenic CO2 — global mean temperature link, as I and others have written at length (see, for instance, here and here).

    Again, I’m not sure what you mean by “of late” but both the NASA and Hadley and satellite data make clear that the warming trend has continued unabated, although it is influenced over the short term by regional climatic factors, especially ENSO.

    You have been suckered by a handful of deniers who keep repeating the same talking points over and over again while ignoring the vast amount of scientific literature.]

  49. Henry Galt says:

    I would like to point out some CO2 science – done by scientists working for the US DOE-

    http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/FTPROOT/environment/057304.pdf

    Table 3

    and DOT-

    http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/glob_c2.pdf

    Exhibit 2-1

    From the papers’ data it can be seen that since the start of the Industrial Revolution the increase in CO2 levels of about 103ppmv are 97% natural and 3%(approx 3ppmv) anthropogenic. The absorption by natural sinks of 98.5% of total CO2 means that, of the annual anthropogenic CO2 emissions, only 1.5% remains in the atmosphere for a year – this was 346 MT. Equivalent to 0.04% of the total annual CO2 emissions from nature and man combined. (2004 data)

    [JR: Who let the deniers out? First off, these publications are not by “DOE scientists” — these are just summary publications of data that has been well known for decades. Second, you are seriously confusing emissions and concentrations. Third, you are seriously missing the point that human emissions of carbon dioxide are what have taken the carbon cycle out of balance, and that the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations is almost wholly due to human emissions. Dude, you need to check your talking points — I don’t think you can find one out of a hundred “mainstream” deniers (if that isn’t an oxymoron) who claim human emissions aren’t the cause of the run up in carbon dioxide concentrations.]

  50. cogito says:

    Why all this aggressiveness? Can’t this discussion be run without ad personam insults?

  51. Andrew Robinson says:

    The problem with the IPCC is that it is institutionally corrupted – “Unless we announce disasters no one will listen” — Sir John Houghton, first chairman of IPCC.

    It purveys its “truth” in its Summaries which only tangentially reflect the contents of its underlying Reports: but no one in the media reads the Reports, which is just as well because they distort the science there also, by commission and ommission. [And as you’ve admitted the Summaries are a waste of space before we’ve even drawn breath!]

    I’ve not been suckered by anyone. I can smell a corrupted dogmatised line when I see one. Proper science, on the other hand, is this open and wonderous window on to the world, not a browbeating exercise in accepting premature postulations, when the facts offer up much more richly complex observations.

    Climate is complex and to reduce it to soundbites is anathema to the true scientific endeavour. Perhaps this is the greatest “sin” of the IPCC, and it thoroughly undermines a proper approach to broader environmental issues.

    Also, one needs to be very careful about attributing short term temperature trends to single variable causes: there are so many variables impinging on the climate, both natural and anthropogenic, that finding some particular correlation over some arbitrary time period speaks more of ones abilities at pattern matching than it does of causation.

    I will only believe a coherent theory when it

    either:

    provides substantial explanatory power that hitherto has not been available

    or

    points to sustained predictive capability over a series of time frames and at specified spatial scales.

    Climate science is such a young little baby of an endeavour that to claim its multidecadal models are worthy of serious policymaker-consideration is to live in a fantasy world.

    Real hard science is won with intellectual endeavour, not throwing money at ever more elaborate computationally-intensive modelling software systems, that insist not on deriving but asserting that CO2/GHGs deliver this much temperature increase/raditiative forcing per unit volume, whilst at the same time leaving out significant impacts elsewhere.

    I do hope there are some young (or maybe old – no ageism here!) capable climate researchers doing their best to prove themselves wrong about their pet theory, and in the process growing in terms of a deep understanding of the issues at stake, but in the end realising that it (perhaps having undergone further refinement) is in fact more robust than even they had dared to hope. These will be the scientific minds to cherish.

    Dissent is the native activity of the scientist… – Bronowski
    No science is immune to the infection of politics and the corruption of power – Bronowski

    The IPCC has mixed science and politics and in the process created feedbacks galore, only some of which are benign.

    But of course, for the time being, its “rightness” (within the scientific illiterati that make up most political and media elites around the world) precedes it.

    [JR: Such a long comment, and yet not a single fact offered to support your position. I’m glad you can “smell” science — I guess that is some sort of a superpower. The rest of us rely on observations and time tested theories. Anyway, you’ll probably live long enough to see just how tragically wrong you were, but by then, it will be too late to undo the fruits of your anti-scientific beliefs.]

  52. Vika says:

    JR:
    “Such a long comment, and yet not a single fact offered to support your position. ”

    If someone supplies facts, you won’t post them.

    [JR: I always post facts. I do not post long-debunked disinformation. It is very easy to tell the difference between facts and long-debunked disinformation. Just use Google or search this blog, RealClimate, and Skeptical Science.

    Now when someone like Tilo wants to post this absurdity “What we can say with truth, however, is that there has been no warming in the last 11 years,” yes, I won’t post it. I’ve done a dozen blog posts linking to major analyses by NASA, Hadley, and other climate scientists debunking it.]

  53. Wolfgang says:

    Crichton is right. And making use of his death for your global warming catastrophe propaganda is really some kind of degenerate…

    [JR: Please tell me what was inaccurate or inappropriate in my post.]

  54. Jim Clarke says:

    Let me just use your words and identify them as facts (F) or emotional appeals (EA):

    [JR: No, I’m afraid it you don’t get to decide what is a fact and what is an emotional appeal.]

    Famed global warming denier (EP, he does not deny global warming) and science-fiction author, Michael Crichton, has died in Los Angeles (F). He became famous as a pulse-pounding writer who helped create the techno-thriller genre with best-sellers (and hit movies) like Jurassic Park and The Andromeda Strain(F).

    [JR: But he was a global warming denier, as the term is generally used and indeed as it is narrowly use.]

    [JR: Snip. Sorry, I don’t have time to debunk all this nonsense so I’m not going to print it all.]

    In a 2006 New Republic interview, he articulated the twin credos of global warming denial (EA, there is no denial below, just an opinion on the certainty of the science.) and delay:

    “If you just look at the science, I, at least, am underwhelmed. This may or may not be a problem, but it is far from the most serious problem. If you want to do something, [limiting emissions] is not what to do. We don’t at this moment have good technology to do this, if, in fact, it’s necessary to do it.”

    [JR: Human-caused global warming (i.e. unrestricted emissions of greenhouse gases) “may not be a problem.” That is denial. There simply is no better word for it. Sorry.]

    Crichton also strained to discredit global-warming fears by presenting them as faddish. He had one environmentalist say (incorrectly), “in the 1970s, all the climate scientists believed an ice age was coming.” For a debunking of this classic denier myth, see “Another denier talking point — ‘global cooling’ — bites the dust.” (EA…There was a fad in the 1970s that an iceage was coming. Although most scientists did not say that, many media and environmental groups implied a scientific authority, similar to what is being implied today by…well, you, for example. What do most scientists think? No one has ever asked them! And that is a fact!)

    [JR: No. This is a very well-debunked myth. And the mere fact that you continue to buy into it shows you aren’t interested in the facts. Actually, is quite easy to see what most scientists thought at the time. You read the literature. Most published climate scientists thought we were warming and would continue to do so because of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions. Crichton has the facts almost exactly backwards — as do you.]

    A full factual debunking (EA…’counterargument’ would be an accurate statement. “full factual debunking” is an emotional phrase) of the book can be found on realclimate.org — “Michael Crichton’s State of Confusion II: Return of the Science” and “Michael Crichton’s State of Confusion.”(F)

    [JR: Yes, well here is where we part company entirely. You think explaining how Crichton made stuff up or repeated long-debunked facts is just making a ” counterargument. I call it a full factual debunking and if you think that is an emotional argument, well, you are obviously at the wrong website.]

    [JR: Snip.]

    But the truth is stronger than fiction. Seismic tsunamis are caused by earth tremors. They are not caused by global warming! Any climate scientist knows that. This was a stunning blunder by Crichton, utterly underming any claim that he understands climate science. (EA…Crichton knew that and understood the dynamics better than you. After the real tsunami, environmentalists said such events would be much worse with the rising sea levels caused by AGW. The real tsunami was used by some environmentalists just as Crichton implied in his book!)

    [JR: If Crichton “knew” that then he took it to his grave. In fact he made one of the gravest blunders ever in a major technothriller. And you have got the denier talking points down pat, but backwards — it was the deniers who tried to smear environmentalists. I defy you to find any environmentalists who made a factual misstatement about the tsunami.

    The fact is that Crichton made up facts and repeated long-debunked denier talking points — and proved persuasive to perhaps millions of people. And unfortunately that will likely be his legacy to future generations.]

  55. Omni says:

    Those of you who applaud mr. Crichton’s death because you disagree with his position on AGW are a disgrace in the face of science, liberty and freedom of speech. It is rather disturbing how you wield your faith of climatology – because that is exactly what it is when you are not open to other rationalizations than your own. It is not science or even closely related to the name of science. Shocking, however, is the arrogance and utter lack of respect you show for a human being, his family and friends when you mock him in his death just because he didn’t share your belief.

    “Whoever undertakes to set himself up as judge in the field of truth and knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the Gods.” – Albert Einstein

    “The test of courage comes when we are in the minority. The test of tolerance comes when we are in the majority.” – Ralph W. Sockman

    “I have learnt silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet strange, I am ungrateful to these teachers.” – Kahlil Gibran

    [JR: “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” I don’t know a single person who applauds the death of Crichton. I do condemn what he became — and in that I will ultimately be joined by millions and millions of people.]

  56. Barton Paul Levenson says:

    Tilo writes:

    Can you give me an example of a climate model forcasting accurately.

    Global climate models successfully predicted the tempo and magnitude of global warming, the cooling of the stratosphere as the troposphere warmed, the greater rise in nighttime than in daytime temperatures, polar amplification, the slow increase of temperature in Antarctica, and the magnitude and duration of the cooling from the eruption of Mount Pinatubo.

    What’s more, Tilo, you were told this on other blogs. The fact that you ignore the response and just repeat your baiting elsewhere shows how fundamentally intellectually dishonest you are. You were hoping no one here would know the answer, weren’t you? That way you could claim the models never predicted anything accurately, as you have on other blogs.

  57. Barton Paul Levenson says:

    Tilo says:

    Just out of curiosity, is there anyone on this site that actually knows something about AGW that I can debate with, or is this another place where alarmists come to pretend that massed ignorance creates informed consensus.

    Why, yes, Tilo, I’m here. I’ve got a degree in physics and I’ve been writing atmosphere models for eleven years. I think several other people here are also knowledgeable about global warming.

    That will make it harder to spread your disinformation here, won’t it?

  58. Barton Paul Levenson says:

    Andrew Robinson writes:

    Crichton was way nearer the mark than Al Gore could ever hope to be in his dreams. For a start he actually read the academic journals: can you actually imagine Gore engaging in anything approaching scholarship?

    Yes. Al Gore was one of Roger Revelle’s students in the ’60s. (Do you know who Revelle was, Andrew, and what he’s famous for?) He does, in fact, know a lot more climate science than Michael Crichton ever did. Some of the climatologists Crichton talked to when he was researching his book said, after the book had come out, that Crichton clearly did not understand what they had told him, or had ignored it.

  59. Barton Paul Levenson says:

    Andrew Robinson says:

    if rigorous observationally-based science can show that anthropogenic CO2 is decisively increasing global mean temperatures I will accept it.

    Really? Seriously? Okay, here it is.

    In 1859 John Tyndall demonstrated in laboratory work that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas.

    In 1955 Hans Suess first identified the radioisotope signature of fossil fuel CO2 in air.

    In 1956 Gilbert N. Plass showed from high-altitude observations that the “saturation” argument against carbon dioxide warming didn’t hold up.

    In 1958 Keeling et al. confirmed what had been suspected for a long time; namely that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was steadily rising.

    Land temperature stations, sea surface temperature readings, borehole temperature readings, balloon radiosonde readings, satellite temperature estimates, melting glaciers, tree lines moving toward the poles, migration patterns of birds and insects, increasing droughts in continental interiors (ask the Australians), and earlier bloom dates for flowers and fruit trees all show that the world is, in fact, warming.

    Which of the above do you dispute? If you accept them all, then you must believe that Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) is true. If you don’t believe it is true, then you must reject one of the points above — which would mean you didn’t really mean the statement I quoted.

  60. Barton Paul Levenson says:

    Henry Galt writes:

    From the papers’ data it can be seen that since the start of the Industrial Revolution the increase in CO2 levels of about 103ppmv are 97% natural and 3%(approx 3ppmv) anthropogenic. The absorption by natural sinks of 98.5% of total CO2 means that, of the annual anthropogenic CO2 emissions, only 1.5% remains in the atmosphere for a year – this was 346 MT. Equivalent to 0.04% of the total annual CO2 emissions from nature and man combined. (2004 data)

    Every quantitative statement here is wrong. ALL the increase since about 1750 is anthropogenic. The natural sources of CO2 are matched by natural sinks. It’s because those sinks can’t handle all the extra CO2 we are putting out that the atmospheric amount keeps rising. The sinks absorb 100% of natural and about 58% of artificial CO2, not 95.8%. And a CO2 pulse remains in the atmosphere for an average of about 200 years. Either your source is a blithering fool or, more likely, you are completely misreading him/her/them.

  61. Barton Paul Levenson says:

    Andrew Robinson writes:

    Climate science is such a young little baby of an endeavour that to claim its multidecadal models are worthy of serious policymaker-consideration is to live in a fantasy world.

    Fourier discovered the existence of the atmospheric greenhouse effect in 1824. John Tyndall identified the major greenhouse gases as water vapor and carbon dioxide in 1859. Louis Agassiz confirmed that the Earth had undergone ice ages in 1862. Svante Arrhenius made the first quantitative estimate of increased temperature under doubled carbon dioxide in 1896. So climate science is older than either quantum mechanics (1900) or relativity (1905 for special, 1917 for general). Do you doubt them, too?

  62. If I ever see the words ‘ad hominem attack’ again, I think I’m going to puke. Every climate blog on the internet denies that it allows or makes ‘ad hominem attacks’ on it’s site, yet they all do it and allow it.

    The truth is, if you believe warming is caused by fossil fuel use, it’s because you believe that large groups of scientists (i.e, committees) analyze large amounts of data and come to the conclusion that the planet is going to hell and man *must* be the cause. No hard proof needed, overwhelm the opposition with mounds of data and voices. If a majority agrees it must be so; so it is. Ad hominem attacks are the only way to refute this groupthink. Slag ’em all you want, I say. It’s all opinion anyway, not science.

    Individual scientists who point out conflicting data and analysis errors are dismissed as quacks, out of the mainstream, not part of the thundering herd, rushing to jump on the bandwagon. It’s human nature to want to be part of the crowd, after all.

    Whether they are right or wrong, we’re going to go down the AGW path, regardless, come hell or high water (pun intended). Get used to it folks, Anthropogenic Global Warming may be not be a proven fact, but, no matter, we are going to pay for it anyway. Get out your pocketbook and prepare to pay, pay, pay, and pay some more. I think I’ll write a book myself, call it – How Western Society Destroyed Itself Economically, Without Any Help From Outside.

    [JR: Nice fact free rant. Everybody gets one, but that’s it. The scientists review and summarize the published literature, telling people the implications and recommending strategies to avoid bad outcomes. If that’s groupthink, then you really need to start seeing a witch doctor since that is how your doctor figures out how to treat you when you’re sick. But honestly I don’t know why you’re whining since you deniers and delayers have won — we’ve done nothing for decades and were probably not going to do enough to stop the impending catastrophe. So celebrate now, but do tell your kids who ruined the planet for them. I wouldn’t want them blaming progressives and scientists and environmentalists, when it was anti-scientific people like you.]

  63. Jim Clarke says:

    JR,

    It is difficult to argue when we don’t even speak the same language. I have always thought that the words ‘climate change denier’ identified a person who did not believe that the Earth’s climate is changing. Certainly that would be the understanding of lay people all across the planet, because that is what the words actually mean!

    In the context of the AGW debate, active participants may understand that the phrase ‘climate change denier’ is a lazy, deragatory description of one who does not believe that CO2 is going to have a ‘significant’ impact on global climate, and not of a person who actually denies that climate changes.

    Of course, this begs the question: What is significant? If one who believes a doubling of CO2 will warm the planet 1 to 2 degrees C, like Michael Crichton, are they still ‘climate change deniers’? How much man-made climate change must one anticipate to not earn the title ‘climate change denier’ and why do you think the rest of the world should know this intuitively? I have been following the debate for 20 years and have yet to see such a precise definition of the ad hominem ‘climate change denier’.

    Don’t you think it is a form of propaganda at best, Orwellian double-speak at worse, to charachterize one who believes that climate is indeed changing due to a combination of natural and human influences, but may disagree with you to the extent of each, as a ‘climate change denier’?

    [JR: No. Crichton dismissed the problem as unimportant and argued against action, which would ensure catastrophe. I use the term denier and delayer, as regular readers know. He is both. I include among deniers anyone who spreads long-debunked disinformation and especially if they attack the integrity of scientists. I have defined my terms repeatedly on this blog. Go searching, and you will find.]

  64. Jim Clarke says:

    Barton Paul Levenson,

    You Wrote:

    “Land temperature stations, sea surface temperature readings, borehole temperature readings, balloon radiosonde readings, satellite temperature estimates, melting glaciers, tree lines moving toward the poles, migration patterns of birds and insects, increasing droughts in continental interiors (ask the Australians), and earlier bloom dates for flowers and fruit trees all show that the world is, in fact, warming.

    Which of the above do you dispute? If you accept them all, then you must believe that Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) is true.”

    Everythng you mentioned indicates warming (with the possible exception of drought), but none of it implicates humans as the cause. Certainly all of those things happened at the end of the last ice age (and much more dramatically than today), and humans were NOT the cause of any of it. Agreed? So you really didn’t answer Andrew Robinson’s question at all with that list. There really is a difference between warming and anthroprogenic warming…and that is the debate. It always has been.

    [JR: The human cause has been well proven. It’s called attribution studies. Try searching this blog. You’ll find dozens.]

  65. PMG says:

    Those of you who believe that the case is closed on global warming are deluding yourselves. I for one hope recent warming trends are artifically caused by man, for if they are not and nature takes her own course, we could be in for much colder temperatures and worse times than warming could ever bring.

    Whose predicitons will prove accurate? AGW supporters claim that solar forcings are now overwhelmed by man’s activities. They predict temperatures will soon be rising again. Anti-AGW scientist are predicting that sun spots (and commeserate solar activity) may disappear altogether by 2015. Earth, they say, is set to experience very cold weather similar to what was experienced from 1790 to 1830 during the Dalton Minimum.

    So we all will know very soon which prediction proves right and which proves wrong.

  66. Jim Clarke posts:

    Everythng you mentioned indicates warming (with the possible exception of drought), but none of it implicates humans as the cause.

    The facts that A) carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas and that B) the new CO2 in the air is from fossil-fuel burning pretty much nail it down, coupled with the other things I listed. Here’s a shortened list of the crucial points:

    1. CO2 is a greenhouse gas.
    2. CO2 is rising.
    3. The new CO2 is from human technology.
    4. The globe is warming.

    Put ’em all together, they spell AGW.

  67. Omni says:

    Barton Paul Levenson, the reasoning you are employing as truth has the same merit as Ludvig Holberg’s character Erasmus Montanus’ syllogism:
    “A stone cannot fly. Mother Nille cannot fly. Ergo, Mother Nille is a stone!”

    To quote David Foster Wallace:
    “blind certainty, a close-mindedness that amounts to an imprisonment so total that the prisoner doesn’t even know he’s locked up.”

    It is baffling to me that “people of science” can claim to know the answer to this without a shred of doubt. Semmelweis anyone?

  68. Omni says:

    [JR: The human cause has been well proven. It’s called attribution studies. Try searching this blog. You’ll find dozens.]

    Just as in court, proof in science does not equal truth.

    [JR: So I assume you never get on an airplane, take medicine, or do any of those things that necessitate excepting what science has proven. Or is it just the science whose conclusions you don’t like that you question????]

  69. jae says:

    LOL. Just substitute the name Al Gore or James Hansen for Chrichton in all those ridiculous ad homs! What a blind myopic bunch of fools.

  70. Yeah, jae, a successful senator and vice president who recently received a Nobel peace prize; a senior scientist at NASA with dozens of published papers; almost all climate science professionals around the world… what a blind myopic bunch of fools. That’s tellin’ ’em. Good critique, too, you’ve really laid bare the fallacies in their reasoning.

    Oh, Omni? Why don’t you substitute the premises and conclusions you think I’m using into the syllable you say represents my thinking? You wouldn’t have to think up an example if you could just demonstrate the fallacy I was indulging. Argument by analogy isn’t very strong if you can’t actually draw the analogy.

  71. jae says:

    Aha, Sir Barton Paul Levenson. Now I know where you are coming from (and it AIN’T SCIENCE).

  72. jae says:

    “Yeah, jae, a successful senator and vice president who recently received a Nobel peace prize; a senior scientist at NASA with dozens of published papers; almost all climate science professionals around the world… what a blind myopic bunch of fools. That’s tellin’ ‘em. Good critique, too, you’ve really laid bare the fallacies in their reasoning.”

    LOL. If the leftists don’t completely politicize science and rewrite history forever, those charletans will go down in infamy. And I think they know that they are way out on a limb that will be sawed off shortly! I actually feel sorry for them.

  73. Wow, jae, the whole climate science community consists of “charletans.” [sic] Once again your logical analysis penetrates to the heart of the problem.

    Okay, they are “charletans,” therefore AGW is wrong? Isn’t that a classic ad hominem argument? I mean, you still haven’t actually said anything about the science.

    My post to Omni should have made is “syllogism” rather than “syllable,” of course. Wish there were a preview on this.

  74. Peter Walker says:

    It’s a scientific fact that the long-lived well-mixed greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane absorb outgoing long-wave infrared radiation from the ground. The IPCC is quite correct in pointing out that humans burning fossil fuels and modifying land has an impact upon the atmosphere and climate, and that most of the recent observed rise in the mean anomaly trend for the global temperature is probably due to these human activities.

    Not facts proven by experimentation, but likely true. Only one planet and all. And as Gavin has mentioned, that the models being unable to show recent warming without increased levels of greenhouse gases isn’t proof they have to be responsible, but it certainly isn’t proof they aren’t at all responsible.

    An expected 1.5-4.5 C of warming from doubling carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is believed to be undesirable. The importance and methods and mixture of mitigating / adapting to such a scenario are currently under discussion, but the underlying probabilities are clear.

    One may debate if the problem is understated or overstated, and what steps to take to fix the issues most likely to cause the most damage. But to conclude that the issues are overstated makes one a denier as much as concluding the issues are understated makes one an alarmist.

    The time is past for applying labels to anyone, much less attacking those that don’t share our own conclusions exactly our way on every subject at every level. The time is here for reaching a compromise on how to go about reducing the use of fossil fuels at both the consumer and industry levels. More needs to be done with scientific inquiry and technological research and development.

    The sustainment of six and a half billion people isn’t a single issue matter. It covers the spectrum. Climate, conflict, money, health, politics, food, clothing, shelter.

    Starving unhealthy people with no home are more concerned about clean water and control of disease-bearing insects than they are if next July or July 2100 has a mean temperature of 2 or 4 Celsius higher than this July’s .

  75. Peter Walker says:

    Starving unhealthy people with no home are more concerned about clean water and control of disease-bearing insects than they are if next July or July 2100 has a mean temperature of 2 or 4 Celsius higher than this July’s

    Global warming means, among other things, more droughts in continental interiors and more violent weather along coastlines. Both mean damage to agricultural production. And the fact that glaciers worldwide are melting means 100 million or more people in Asia are seeing their primary source of fresh water go away. Thus, mitigating global warming is crucial to helping the people who need clean water get it.

  76. Peter Walker says:

    Yes, secondary and regional effects believed to be caused to some extent by global warming include damage to agricultural production and hampering of primary fresh-water sources.

    Global warming is not the only issue impacting water-related matters. Or as the UN said in 2006 “Water insufficiency is often due to mismanagement, corruption, lack of appropriate institutions, bureaucratic inertia and a shortage of investment in both human capacity and physical infrastructure”

    When it comes to water issues the focus should be on wastewater treatment and groundwater overdrafting reduction. And on technologies such as solar distillation and nuclear desalinization.

    Just like any other matter; primary focus should be on that issue itself, and then on its global warming aspects (mitigation, adaptation and low-carbon economic) as appropriate.

    These issues are not either/or, they’re all and more.

  77. Peter Walker says:

    Although the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Third Assessment Report (2001) concluded that “There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities,” important uncertainties remain. What changes in climate can we expect? What will the impacts be on, for example, agriculture, unmanaged ecosystems, and sea level? Which regions of the world will be most affected?

    https://ccpp.llnl.gov/

  78. Nick says:

    “# Joe Says: November 6th, 2008 at 5:32 pm BTW, being a Denier is much worse than being an Infidel.”

    The punishment for being an ‘Infidel’ is beheading with a dull knife. So what is the punishment for being a ‘Denier’?

    [JR: You need to look up “Infidel” in Wikipedia. You might learn something. The punishment for being a denier is the rather growing knowledge as you age that you have contributed to the self-destruction of the human race and, if you have children or nieces and nephews, that you have left the world a poored place for them, thus failing in perhaps the most important task of your lifetime.]

  79. Richard M says:

    I am completely aghast at the rhetoric tossed out by the pro AGW group at this site. For a group that claims scientific assuredness, you demonstrate a complete lack of understanding of scientific principles. It reminds me a bit of all the cancer scares of the 70s. I suspect those scientists, who wrote peer-reviewed papers declaring these scares, thought they were providing a service. Many of them were based on other scientific peer-reviewed literature as well. The problem is they didn’t understand as much as they thought they did. I’d venture that same description fits many at this site.

    I’m a newby to the climate debate but I do understand the scientific method. Anytime anyone claims they are absolutely certain about their science you can be assured they are just fooling themselves. Real scientists know that absolute certainty is a fools game.

    From what I’ve been able to understand in my brief study of climate is that it is an extremely complex and chaotic system. I would suggest that those who claim perfect knowledge to do a little historical reading of just about any other field of science. You will find advancement to be a series of false starts, failures and an occasional giant step forward. Many of the false starts and failures were accepted at one time as givens.

    I hope to learn more in the future as I continue to read and review the material that has been written in the debate. I will not becoming back to this site as it is clear I will learn NOTHING here.

  80. Have a nice day, Richard. Don’t let the door swat you in the ass as you go out.

    No one is claiming perfect knowledge. But for all practical purposes, there are some things we can be blithely sure about. The Earth really DOES go around the Sun. And global warming really IS caused by side-effects of human technology. Deal with it.

  81. ginANDtonix says:

    Crichton studied each problem that he was writing about, then carefully formed his opinion and then published it. He did far better than most of the GW alarmists. Yet that does not actually matter here. What does matters is that he never condemned anybody for saying his opinions like this stupid article does. And that is the big difference. And this is what you, alarmist people, do — you made all of this a religion and you are ready to crucify anybody who opposes it.

    Michael Crichton wasn’t even a denier. He acknowledged the rising global temperature and changing climate. He acknowledged need for reducing pollutions. What he was standing against was this type of alarmism.

    And his book “State of Fear” flawed? Well, what flaws do you mean? You know, the British court ruled Al-Gores movie as flawed, we know that Stern’s report is flawed, we also know for sure that IPCC reports have many discrepancies. Why would you tolerate these political pieces of crap while condemning the novelist?

  82. State of Fear wasn’t a political piece of crap? Sure looked that way to me.

    Save your righteous indignation for someone who’s impressed by it. Michael Crichton was a competent novelist and I’m sure he did a good job when he was a working M.D. As a climate scientist he didn’t know his ass from his elbow.

  83. Craig says:

    I’ve never read this book and I never believed in AGW. You guys sound like Paulson and Bush ,”to do nothing would be irresponsible” or “the stakes are too high” . Prove your theory before saying “if it’s true and we do nothing”, which is the way every debate on this subject ends.
    If it’s true is not a scientific statement.
    Regards

  84. msn nickleri says:

    Save your righteous indignation for someone who’s impressed by it. Michael Crichton was a competent novelist and I’m sure he did a good job when he was a working M.D. As a climate scientist he didn’t know his ass from his elbow.

  85. Paal says:

    Will you be issuing a posthumous apology to Michael Crichton now that his writing in the book “State of Fear” has been backed by the scientist who vilified him after he published the book. If you read the book you would have seen that his message passed on in his typical fictional style was well founded and referenced. Why is there such a strong fear that global warming is not a reality? My only conclusion is that there is much money to be lost by the “anti-warming movement”!

    [JR: Sadly, you’ll live to see how tragically wrong you and Crichton have been.]