Climate

Unscientific America, Part 1: From the moon-landing deniers to WattsUpWithThat

Book CoverHow desperate is WattsUpWithThat to mislead the public about climate science? On Saturday, former TV meteorologist Watts ran a post “Flashback: Snow in Buenos Aires – first time in 89 years.”

Presumably he was doing denier pushback about the fact that NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center had reported this was the second hottest June on record globally, and easily the hottest June on record for the oceans, with further records likely to be set if the new El Ni±o continues.  But what is so laughable typical about the post is what follows:

Flashback:  More from the “weather is not climate” department.

NOTE: These are news stories about unusual July weather in Argentina from 2007 which I thought might interest readers. Please note these stories are not from 2009.

That’s right, his response to the whole friggin’ planet approaching a temperature record is a post on the weather 2 years ago over a teeny land area.

And that brought to mind an amazingly apt quote I had just read in an excellent new book by fellow science blogger, Chris Mooney, Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens our Future, who has teamed up with scientist Sheril Kirshenbaum for a sequel to the bestselling. The Republican War on Science:

Anthony Watts is an extremely popular blogger….  Yet his blog contains highly questionable information — presented very “scientifically” of course, replete with charts and graphs — but all directed toward the end of making the scientific consensus on human-caused global warming seem faulty (in fact it’s extremely robust).  A particular delight of the blog: hyping individual winter-weather events as if they have something to do with refuting global warming trends, a basic error of statistical reasoning.

Seriously.

And that brought to mind this recent NYT story, “Vocal Minority Insists It Was All Smoke and Mirrors“:

Forty years after men first touched the lifeless dirt of the Moon “” and they did. Really. Honest. “” polling consistently suggests that some 6 percent of Americans believe the landings were faked and could not have happened. The series of landings, one of the greatest gambles of the human race, was an elaborate hoax….They examine photos from the missions for signs of studio fakery, and claim to be able to tell that the American flag was waving in what was supposed to be the vacuum of space. They overstate the health risks of traveling through the radiation belts that girdle our planet; they understate the technological prowess of the American space program; and they cry murder behind every death in the program, linking them to an overall conspiracy.

Sound familiar?

Watts also has an entire effort devoted to people who “examine photos” — but these are far more boring pictures of temperature stations, although still part of a broader conspiracy to deceive the public (see Must-read NOAA paper smacks down the deniers: Q: “Is there any question that surface temperatures in the United States have been rising rapidly during the last 50 years?” A: “None at all.”).

And while there is no credible evidence to support such views, and the sheer unlikelihood of being able to pull off such an immense plot and keep it secret for four decades staggers the imagination, the deniers continue to amass accusations to this day.

Global warming would require a similarly large conspiracy.  But Watts approvingly reprints denier manifestos that claim global warming “is the biggest whopper ever sold to the public in the history of humankind” “” see here.

As I’ve written, such a statement is anti-scientific and anti-science in the most extreme sense. It accuses the scientific community broadly defined of conspiring in deliberate fraud – and not just the community of climate scientists, but the leading National Academies of Science around the world (including ours) and the American Geophysical Union, an organization of geophysicists that consists of more than 45,000 members and the American Meteorological Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (see “Yet more scientists call for deep GHG cuts“).

Such a statement accuses all of the member governments of the IPCC, including ours, of participating in that conspiracy, since they all sign off on the Assessment Reports word for word (see “Absolute MUST Read IPCC Report: Debate over, further delay fatal, action not costly“). And, of course, Ambler’s statement accuses all of the leading scientific journals of being in on this fraud, since the IPCC reports are primarily a review and synthesis of the published scientific literature.

Adam Savage, the co-star of the television show “MythBusters,” spent an episode last year taking apart Moon hoax theories bit by bit, entertainingly and convincingly. The theorists, he noted, never give up. “They’ll say you have to keep an open mind,” he said, “but they reject every single piece of evidence that doesn’t adhere to their thesis.”

For those who actually went “” and have I mentioned that we did land astronauts on the Moon? Six times? “” the conspiracy theories are simply galling.

Harrison Schmitt, the pilot of the lunar lander during the last Apollo mission and later a United States senator, said in an interview that the poor state of the nation’s schools has had predictable results. “If people decide they’re going to deny the facts of history and the facts of science and technology, there’s not much you can do with them,” he said.

“For most of them, I just feel sorry that we failed in their education.”

Precisely.

Of course, denying the moon landing doesn’t hurt anybody.  But denying our scientific understanding of climate science — and actively misleading the public — imperils the health and well-being of billions of people and generations yet to come.

This post is not my book review of Unscientific America, which will be Part 2, or even my one (small) area of disagreement with Mooney, which will be Part 3.

No, I’m just drawing the painfully straight line from the moon hoax people to the climate hoax people.

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54 Responses to Unscientific America, Part 1: From the moon-landing deniers to WattsUpWithThat

  1. paulm says:

    The guy is a total and utter fraud. What a waste of time.

  2. Dave says:

    Good point, Joe. And it really is offensive when people like Watts, Matt Drudge, et al. accuse the scientific community of being involved in a giant hoax. That’s what I think is sometimes lost on some of this people, common sense and a sense of respect for your fellow human beings. These scientists have spent their lives studying the climate and perfecting the different tools we have out our disposal to measure the changing climate. To accuse the entire community of climate scientists of deliberately misleading the public, making up data and being negligent is just an absurd accusation to make.

  3. dhogaza says:

    Actually I think the Watts post is worse than you think.

    Originally it was up for some hours *without* the “flasback:” or “2007” references, and got a lot of the typical WUWT idiots all excited.

    In fact, one posted the “factoid” over at Coby Beck’s “How to argue with a climate skeptic” site, and it gave me great pleasure to link to wunderground, showing temps in the mid-60s with rain.

    Afterwards, the “flashback:” and “2007” bit showed up. Watts claimed he’d not meant the post to show up in its original form.

    Personally, I think it’s just face-saving on his part, and that he actually did post it THINKING IT WAS A CURRENT EVENT.

    Too bleeping funny.

  4. Rick Covert says:

    I already had a question form someone asking about the Apollo 11 conspiracy that man did not really land on the moon. I only used the example of why there are no stars in the pictures or andy video from the moon. Any decent photographer can debunk that one.

  5. Dano says:

    There is a small fraction that is very motivated to be willfully ignorant. And they send 47 e-mails a day around the place.

    He is the perfect FUD dissemination medium for the credulous rubes. They are a small, vocal minority, and very motivated to hand-wave away from the fact that their self-identities are based on fraudulent and deceptive stories.

    That’s it. Focus on that. Move forward with that.

    Best,

    D

  6. dhogaza says:

    Interesting you quote Harrison Schmitt, since he’s fallen into the same trap himself:

    SANTA FE, N.M. – Former astronaut Harrison Schmitt, who walked on the moon and once served New Mexico in the U.S. Senate, doesn’t believe that humans are causing global warming.

    “I don’t think the human effect is significant compared to the natural effect,” said Schmitt, who is among 70 skeptics scheduled to speak next month at the International Conference on Climate Change in New York.

    “For most of them, I just feel sorry that we failed in their education.”

    Pot, kettle, black, Mr. Schmitt.

  7. dhogaza says:

    Oops, those are two separate quotes, to be clear, my quoting of ““For most of them, I just feel sorry that we failed in their education.”” was meant to be an admonishment of the first quote.

  8. MarkB says:

    I think dhogaza’s right. In fact, the URL without “flashback” points to the same post.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/07/18/snow-in-buenos-aires-first-time-in-89-years

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/07/18/flashbacksnow-in-buenos-aires-first-time-in-89-years

    Watts, in his desperation to find a local weather event to stop the damage control from the June record ocean warmth, erroneously posted an event that was 2 years old.

    He’s going to have his hands full as el Nino takes hold for the next year.

    Although scientifically empty, the Watts political message is fairly strong. Start with his Surface Stations project, which attempts to cast doubt on the temperature record by showing photos of weather stations and classify most as of poor quality. Then claim the surface record is unreliable, a non-sequitur that is not easily apparent to his target audience. This plants the seeds of doubt in the minds of certain people about whether the planet is really warming. The cold weather stories are mainly used as reinforcement to this message and the hope is that enough of these will do the trick. Watts relies on the assumption that his target audience doesn’t understand that weather varies widely from location to location each month. There are record lows and record highs set on a regular basis (although more record highs on average). Another assumption is also that the target audience is ignorant to the reasons why his Surface Stations project has no implication regarding the temperature trend. Very effective propaganda.

  9. Sable says:

    Our capacity for delusion is seemingly bottomless and deeply rooted. It likely has an adaptive advantage, e.g. dealing with shock, etc. But like all of our abilities and characteristics, it’s a double edged sword.

    There’s really nothing new or too surprising about the anti-science crowd, but it is important to keep holding their feet to the fire.

  10. Sasparilla says:

    Truly amazing and right one. I look forward to your review of the book, it sounds like a very good read.

  11. dhogaza says:

    I think dhogaza’s right. In fact, the URL without “flashback” points to the same post.

    Oh, good catch on the URL, MarkB. I think that about clinches it. His nickname isn’t “MicroWatts” for nuthin’!

  12. Dano said something in #5 above that I think is particularly insightful: “their self-identities are based on fraudulent and deceptive stories.”

    I cannot second this emphatically enough. This is exactly the threat these people are dealing with: their very selves, their very identities. And we (I say “we” because this is true of all human beings) find our self-identities in the narratives — that is, the stories — in and around which we compose that very knowledge of our self.

    No amount of objective trauma will ever — by itself — suffice to break through the walls of denial because such a breakthrough would amount to a breakdown (of “self”).

    I do not know how to “fix” this. My best guess is that we must first begin by insinuating a new narrative that can replace the old w/o destroying the person in the process. But a variety of 12-step programs insist there is no way of doing this without a personal intervention when the individual has hit bottom.

    Anyway, my kudos (for what they are worth) to Dano.

  13. Jeremiah says:

    Two thoughts.

    1st, Sen. Inhofe, Watts, and others like them have yet to define why this group of merry pranksters (including every developed country in the world, NASA, and virtually all of the scientific community) are getting out of this. What is the purpose of this “greatest hoax ever?”

    2nd, Take warning, now that Obama is in the house, and a bill is progressing, climate change deniers are getting nuttier and more vocal by the day. I do find this sort of worrying.

  14. Mark Shapiro says:

    The biggest denier and climate conspiracy theorist is: George Will.

    Mr. Will actually believes, and writes, that climate scientists have conspired to defraud the public since the 1970s, and that somehow they shifted their alarm from global cooling to global warming.

    Mr. Will actually believes that thousands of scientists find reality so boring that they will conspire to make stuff up for decades.

    Mr. Will’s paranoid delusion staggers this reader.

  15. A small nit, but you’ve done this before:
    It’s the American Meteorological Society (membership 14,000).

  16. Jeremiah,
    “What is the purpose . . . ?”
    They’re clearly Only In It For the Gold.

  17. Dano says:

    Anyway, my kudos (for what they are worth) to Dano.

    Thank you Gary.

    This approach above is particularly helpful for the real-world Dano’s career – acknowledging the origins of self-identity and identity politics.

    What is interesting is one of the unmentionables on this site brought this up in an essay several years ago, and outlined a strategy to address this issue (‘fix’ it); sadly, they’ve veered off course and their original good message is lost.

    Nonetheless, this ‘fixing’ has come up elsewhere in a slightly different context – note the reaction of opponents as a signal of how close this is to hitting home…

    In my real-world practice, it is important to think of how others think about things and how they want to hear things. Now, today, in this topic, the opponents are few enough that their concerns can be bypassed and action taken (IMHO).

    Best regards, sir,

    D

  18. Lou Grinzo says:

    Once again, I come back to the “obvious” challenge: If this is all a grand hoax, and all the publishers and editors and scientists are perpetrating this purely out of narrow-minded greed, then there’s a very simple question:

    Why don’t the deniers prove it’s all wrong and make vastly more money and fame for overturning “the greatest hoax evah”? For that matter, imagine the fame some small group of scientists (and a journal) would get for writing and publishing a paper that blew the cover on the whole thing.

    This is why there is NO difference between the climate chaos deniers, the moon landing deniers, the AIDS deniers, or any other bunch of wackaloon conspiracy theorists: Their claim doesn’t come close to being internally consistent, something every beginning writer of fiction learns is vitally important. There’s an immense incentive to be the first to expose this “hoax” in a way that truly ends it, as opposed to merely draws a bunch of mouth-breathing, knuckle dragging, Star Trek PJ clad, Dorito dust covered acolytes to one’s web site day after day. So why won’t someone do it?

    And that, in turn, relates to why I find these people so disgusting. They don’t know what they’re talking about, they can’t even make up a good lie, and they don’t actually want the debate to end. This is their plaything, their way of telling the universe they matter (or making money off their fellow deniers). It’s no different, except in the staggering scope of the possible damage they’re doing, from the teenage boy who vandalizes a stranger’s car just to validate his existence by destroying something.

    Yes, I’ve finally hit my boiling point with These People. And I’m not going to take it any more:

    http://loudgizmo.wordpress.com/2009/07/20/collapsitarians-really/

    (And for the record, I was supposed to review Mooney’s book, but the copy he arranged to be sent to me seems to have taken a side trip into a black hole. I will cover it as soon as I can get my hands on the book and read it.)

  19. SecularAnimist says:

    Jeremiah wrote: “What is the purpose of this ‘greatest hoax ever?'”

    Why, as every good little Ditto-Head knows, the purpose of the Great Global Warming Hoax is to crush capitalism and destroy modern technology and leave us all shivering in the dark under the jackboot of Evil Liberal World Government headed by the fiendish Global Dictator Al Gore. Of course all the climate scientists are Evil Liberals so they are all in on it.

  20. Michael Tobis says:

    I’m a little baffled why somebody keeps bringing Only In It for the Gold in without any real context. I guess I appreciate the smattering of random traffic. I guess. I’m not at all sure why this is happening (there was one on Pharyngula, too) or whether the person doing this likes my blog or not.

    I just want to make it clear that this campaign to randomly mention my blog isn’t my idea…

  21. DavidCOG says:

    > …former TV meteorologist Watts…

    You flatter him, Joe. He has no meteorology qualifications. The best he’s got is retired ‘Television Seal Holder’ from http://www.ametsoc.org/memdir/seallist/get_listoftv.cfm. He’s not even a ‘broadcast meteorologist’.

  22. DavidCOG says:

    P.S. A couple of reviews of Mooney’s book which I found persuasive given what I’ve seen of his previous unimpressive output:

    * http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/07/unscientific_america_how_scien.php (there’s now several back-and-forth posts between Myers and Mooney – they have ‘history’)
    * http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2009/07/14/unscientific-unscientific-america-part-1/

  23. DavidCOG says:

    FFS. Still that silly link pre-moderation? It serves *no* purpose. It stifles discussion. Come on, Joe – it’s the internet.

  24. MarkB says:

    DavidCOG,

    Who needs any science knowledge when you have a clever political message?

    A Certified Broadcast Meteorologist requires a basic relevant science degree, of which Watts doesn’t appear to have.

    http://www.ametsoc.org/amscert/

    Nonetheless, the Television Seal Holder, according to the description is supposed to be highly respected:

    “Professional meteorologists have confidence that weather presentations made by sealholders will be technically sound and responsibly delivered. ”

    1. Technically Sound

    2. Responsibly Delivered

    Epic failure on both counts

  25. dhogaza says:

    A Certified Broadcast Meteorologist requires a basic relevant science degree, of which Watts doesn’t appear to have.

    My second-hand understanding of this is that the AMS raised the bar, after Watts entered the profession of reading weather news on the radio, then later TV.

    But it does appear that Watts holds no relevant university degree at any level.

  26. caerbannog says:


    My second-hand understanding of this is that the AMS raised the bar, after Watts entered the profession of reading weather news on the radio, then later TV.

    But it does appear that Watts holds no relevant university degree at any level.

    Every time someone mentions “meteorologist” Anthony Watts, I’m reminded of this classic broadcast meteorology performance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32YKaPxAxwA (The full Anthony-Watts display of intellect starts about 1:35 into the clip).

    Skip in about 1:35 to see the full

  27. caerbannog says:

    Arrgh — ignore that last sentence fragment (That’s what happens when I post without getting a caffeine recharge first!).

  28. PurpleOzone says:

    Watts is timid compared to the dreck that got published in my local newspaper.

    http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090717/OPINION04/307179972/-1/opinion

    Deroy Murdock maintains that there is global
    ‘cooling’ with a hodgepodge of statistics and reference to NASA
    satellite data (Roy Spencer’s), and citing as authority — are you
    ready? — Marc Morano.
    Morano disseminated lied for Senator Inhofe until this spring. He left for a larger salary ultimately funded by ?who? and set up a web page.
    I sent a letter of protest to the Nashua Telegraph.
    The real ‘conspiracy is the disinformation campaign that is now roaring away. Expect to see a lot of it, Watts is just one piece.

  29. Mike D says:

    Isn’t it funny how the only times you hear the wingnuts postulating giant, sinister conspiracy theories are when the science contradicts their previously-held political or religious beliefs? I mean, you don’t hear senators calling gravity an evil left-wing hoax or school boards banning their districts from teaching atomic theory. These are considered settled science, even though technically they are only well-supported theories, just like radiometric dating, evolution, and global warming. What’s really crazy is that many of these people are perfectly willing to accept all the smaller scientific theories from which these larger theories directly follow, but are unable or unwilling to make that last logical leap. I have this problem talking to my mother about evolution. She’ll accept that genes carry information, that genes sometimes mutate, that some mutations produce beneficial traits, that organisms with certain beneficial traits are more likely to survive, that organisms which survive are more likely to have offspring, and that those beneficial traits are likely to be passed onto those offspring. But she somehow cannot jump from this to evolution by natural selection. It’s infuriating! And of course the reason she is hung up on this is solely because her religion tells her otherwise (or at least she thinks it does). I love my mother, I would kill for her, but she has crazy defense mechanisms in her brain protecting Genesis at all costs.

  30. Mike#22 says:

    Grinzo: “Their claim doesn’t come close to being internally consistent, something every beginning writer of fiction learns is vitally important.”

    Dano: “They are a small, vocal minority, and very motivated to hand-wave away from the fact that their self-identities are based on fraudulent and deceptive stories.”

    Stories? Fiction?

    Very interseting

  31. Gail says:

    Apologies to those who have already read this, but my dad, a retired professor in his 80’s, likes to send hand-written letters to newspapers, and this is one example:

    http://www.wickedlocal.com/brewster/news/opinions/x1824789369/Guest-Commentary-The-alternative-to-Darwinian-science-ignorance

  32. John Costello says:

    Rather clearly the reason for the fraud is money and power, as exemplified by Waxman-Markey. As someone trained in archaeology I know that the Medieval Warm Period was real andthat we have yet to fully emerge from the Little Ice Age. And since the Vostok Ice Cores show that a temperature rise preceeds a CO2 rise by about 800 years, rising CO2 (800 years after 1109 AD) is perfedctly reasonable. I am really tired of you people trying to provoke hysteria among your fellow ignoramuses.

  33. dhogaza says:

    Every time someone mentions “meteorologist” Anthony Watts, I’m reminded of this classic broadcast meteorology performance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32YKaPxAxwA (The full Anthony-Watts display of intellect starts about 1:35 into the clip).

    Thank you for that … but note, unlike Watts, she doesn’t claim to overthrowing science, she’s too busy trying to figure out how to pronounce all those big words!

    Less ambitious, classic fail.

    Watts … epic fail.

  34. John Hollenberg says:

    > I am really tired of you people trying to provoke hysteria among your fellow ignoramuses.

    I can only assume you are referring to the IPCC, all of the nations that signed off on the final draft word for word of the latest report (including the U.S.), the National Academies of Science of multiple nations, and 90+ percent of publishing climate scientists.

    Seems to me you owe them an apology–unless, of course, you are a victim of anti-science syndrome (ASS).

  35. Sable says:

    John Costello – “you people” – come on, really? The first thing to do when you just don’t get something is to try, try, try, and try again.

    That’s great you’re a trained archaeologist, but I have to point out the obvious – every year our universities graduate the sublimely gifted, the above average, average, and a cartload of idiots. So please calm your own ill informed hysteria. If you can’t help to change the way we generate and use energy, then get out of the way. Since you can’t see the problem, what skin is it off your nose if your dishwasher runs on wind, solar, or coal?

  36. From Peru says:

    You believe wattsupwithtthat is anti-scientific?
    You have not yet saw websites like “answeringenesis.org” , “creationscience.com” , “christian geology” etc, etc, etc, etc.

    Their denial is breathtaking( read them may be worse than fall in one of the Dick Cheney`s waterboarding torture chambers). They deny practically everything in modern science: all geology (calling it “atheist and anti-christian evolutionary ideology”) that proves earth is billion yeras old, all cosmology (from the big bang to stellar astrophysics), and of course,all modern evolutionary biology.

    They invented the so-called “creation science” , which allegelly demostrates that earth is just 6000 years old, 4000 years ago there was a global flood that formed the geologic record, that evolution is impossible…. they even formulated their own version of general relativity to explain the events of the six creation days.

    Of course, climate chage is also denied, because after trashing all paleoclimate knowledge and condensing billion of years of climate change in a few millenia , these people should consider that modern abrupt climate change is just the continuation of those processes.

    And also, as the scientific community that introduced this “anti-biblical doctrine” is the same that discovered climate change, it is not difficult to understand why these people believe in those claims of scientific fraud conspiration made by atheists(if not devil-followers).

    I say all this because those cultural troglodites had convinced, according to some polls, nearly HALF OF NORTH AMERICAN PEOPLE. They are omnipresent in the Republican Party. Whit those AMERICAN TALIBANS(remember when George Bush said that God tell him to invade Iraq?) whith so much power and influence , one can understand why science in the US is so rejected by a big part of the US people.

  37. From Peru says:

    There is , something that definitely isn’t in the fundamentalist sites of the christian ultra-right listed before, some good things in the wattsupwitthat site.

    1: in the right column, there is a list of beautiful weather links, including the latest AMSR-E sea ice extent data and arctic temperatures. It will be interesting when the collapse of arctic sea ice will appear clearly in the WUWT website.

    2: Some bloggers of the site ,like Bob Tisdale, do not follow the Antony Watts line; Bob just put the data ,where his analysis show a clear warming trend. He posted in his own blog, “Climate Observations” ( many of his analysis are then published in the WUWT site) an analysis of recent SST anomalies where appears a sudden oceanic warming in may and june, even before NOAA and GISS published their june data.

    To me seem that the WUWT bloggers are not a monolithic group, but there are some divergences inside. What do yoy think?

  38. Mike D says:

    “Rather clearly the reason for the fraud is money and power, as exemplified by Waxman-Markey.”

    Really? Putting obviously compromised politicians and industrialists aside, how much money are you under the impression that the average *climate scientist* makes, or stands to make, if this “fraud” goes through? You really think there is some cabal of climate scientists plotting to make millions in kickbacks from the solar and wind power industries or something? A huge conspiracy with literally tens of thousands of participants and NOBODY has leaked any direct evidence of it?

  39. pete best says:

    The right are very well organised in the USA. Many books of a popular kind especially Al frankens “Lying lies and the liars who tell them” says it all about americas right and their seeming comfort levels of lying in order to maintain the status quo and hence their politicial stance.

    Fox News is dangerous, never has a good word to say about democratic governments, its probably the same in Australia to, I seem to see many a similar denial stance from many Australian writers who seem to see NASA as some kind of elitist liberal body who cannot be telling the truth when WUWT and CA must be. It just demonstrates that complete mistrust in organised scientific bodies on the right (far right I might add). It is a very mouthy minority here who are listened to very willingly by right wing media outlets both newspapers and TV based. The arguments are not going away any time soon but hopefully the present government will not even be willing to listen to it anymore and will only take advice from the correct bodies of knowledge.

    If the USA has to have a democratic government in order for its science to be listened to outside of the military industrial complex then we are in for a sad future for over democrats comes republcans. DO they ever vote in a moderate right leader and administration ?

  40. Michael says:

    Oh and how come there are positive comments on the Moon mission?

    Just think of the mission’s carbon footprint!111!!!1

    According to your logic Armstrong and his pals murder your grandchildren in some apocalyptic future with no food and no water and big ants.

  41. BBHY says:

    You guys will never understand the deniers. You see, when a La Nina event causes cooling, it’s a sign that global warming is over, while an El Nino warming event is just a temporary fluctuation.

    You can’t use facts and logic to argue with the deniers, any more than you can use algebra to teach your dog to fetch a stick.

  42. BBHY says:

    The deniers are really aggravating when they just keep wasting time on the same tired old arguments that have been debunked over and over and over and over!!!!

    John Costello,

    Sorry to interrupt your fact-free argument, but the Medieval Warm Period occurred in Europe only, while the Global Warming that we are talking about is a GLOBAL phenomenon.

    Go out and get yourself a globe, and find Europe on it and then try to figure out if that is the whole globe, or just a small part of it.

    Meanwhile, I have more important things to do than waste time on your nonsense!

  43. dhogaza says:

    Oh and how come there are positive comments on the Moon mission?

    Just think of the mission’s carbon footprint!111!!!1

    How much CO2 is released when you burn hydrogen and oxygen?

  44. Gary Thompson says:

    NASA’s Dr. Aldrin — who earned a Doctorate of Science in Astronautics at MIT — declared he was skeptical of man-made climate fears in a July 3, 2009 UK Telegraph interview.

    “I think the climate has been changing for billions of years,” Aldrin, the second person to walk on the Moon, said. On July 20, 1969, Aldrin and astronaut Neil Armstrong made their historic Apollo 11 moonwalk, becoming the first two humans to set foot on the Moon. According to his bio, “Aldrin has received three U.S. patents for his schematics of a modular space station, Starbooster reusable rockets, and multi-crew modules for space flight.” Aldrin was also decorated with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest American peacetime award and he has received numerous distinguished awards and medals from 23 other countries.
    “If it’s warming now, it may cool off later. I’m not in favor of just taking short-term isolated situations and depleting our resources to keep our climate just the way it is today,” Aldrin explained.

    “I’m not necessarily of the school that we are causing it all, I think the world is causing it,” Aldrin added.

    Aldrin joins fellow moonwalker Schmitt, who flew on the Apollo 17 mission, in declaring their skepticism of man-made global warming fears.

  45. sikiş says:

    You guys will never understand the deniers. You see, when a La Nina event causes cooling, it’s a sign that global warming is over, while an El Nino warming event is just a temporary fluctuation.

    You can’t use facts and logic to argue with the deniers, any more than you can use algebra to teach your dog to fetch a stick.

  46. Richard Steckis says:

    Dhogaza says:

    ” Oh and how come there are positive comments on the Moon mission?

    Just think of the mission’s carbon footprint!111!!!1

    How much CO2 is released when you burn hydrogen and oxygen?”

    There was a lot more energy expended in the lunar program than just rocket fuel. Not to mention concrete, construction, transport, climate control, systems testing. astronaut recovery etc. etc. etc.

  47. caerbannog says:

    John Costello said…


    As someone trained in archaeology I know that the Medieval Warm Period was real andthat we have yet to fully emerge from the Little Ice Age. And since the Vostok Ice Cores show that a temperature rise preceeds a CO2 rise by about 800 years, rising CO2 (800 years after 1109 AD) is perfedctly reasonable.

    Someone trained in archaeology should also know that a civilization-ending drought occurred in North America during the MWP. Another MWP would be a complete disaster for North America today.

    As for the Vostok ice-core talking-point — that’s nothing more than Rush-Limbaugh “science”.

    Orbital forcings initiated end ended ice-ages. When the Northern Hemisphere (NH) summer occurred during perigee, ice-sheets melted, sending the planet into an interglacial period. When the NH summer corresponded to orbital apogee, enough NH ice would survive the summer to trigger a new ice-age. (Oversimplified explanation, but it captures the “big picture”.)

    Now, the ice-age/interglacial episodes were *global*. That is, when the NH ice-sheets grew, the SH also cooled. And when NH ice-sheets retreated (leading to an interglacial period), the SH *warmed* along with the NH.

    Now, given that the SH received *less* solar energy during those interglacials, why did it warm along with the NH? Why weren’t ice-ages confined to one hemisphere or the other? If orbital forcings were solely responsible for ice-ages/interglacials, we’d expect to see a warm NH and cold SH (or vice versa) at any period of time. But that’s not what happened. The NH and SH warmed together and cooled together during ice-age/interglacial/ice-age transitions.

    Your homework assignment is to figure out why.

  48. Colin Crawford says:

    Thank you, BBHY (#40), for getting right to the crux of the matter. I wholeheartedly second your observation as it coincides precisely with my observations of the “human condition.” Most of the people I have ever known, and seemingly can’t avoid meeting, do not care about facts or “reason,” regardless of the “obviousness” of those qualities. A question I never even see being posed (except by me), let alone discussed, is “How do you convince a moron that s/he is, in fact, a moron?” The only “answer” I’ve discovered is “You can’t.” Which also speaks to my observation that “most people” perceive those who are “more knowledgeable” or “smarter” as elitist threats. Just as Mike D (#28) is immensely and continually frustrated by his mother’s continuing [irrational] belief in Genesis despite accepting all the facts that contradict that view. Please, Mike D, I am NOT trying to imply that your mother is a moron but that any simultaneous “belief” in diametrically opposed “facts” is, in itself, moronic and speaks to the abdication of reason by the masses. After all, it is much easier to believe a supposed authority figure than it is to question their authority or authenticity, research the facts, consider them carefully and at length (if necessary) and form a coherent, consistent view of one’s own. Alas, this “condition” is not limited to just those with impaired intellectual function. This should be quite evident in our failed “educational” system geared more toward shaping beliefs and compartmentalizing knowledge to the exclusion of everything else. However, that system does make for a more manageable (read controllable) society of “sheep.” I have to concur with Bill Maher that religion is indicative of a detrimental neurological condition. And that is why more than 6 billion people will be leaving the planet in the next 20-30 years. Maybe sooner.

  49. dhogaza says:

    There was a lot more energy expended in the lunar program than just rocket fuel. Not to mention concrete, construction, transport, climate control, systems testing. astronaut recovery etc. etc. etc.

    Yes, amortized over the life of the space program (launch pads 38A and 38B are still used today to launch the space shuttle), so you can’t count that entirely against *the moon mission*, i.e. Apollo 11.

    My uncle, an engineer, helped design the cooling system for the two pads…

  50. Joe M says:

    The only anti-science I see is that of you alarinst trying to scare people into spending trillions for nothing.

    [JR: Boo! Where’s my trillion? Seriously — that usually works. Helps to have hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific papers and actual observational data, of course, but what would deniers know about that?]

  51. Dano says:

    Not to fear, the Pielke denio-machine is on the Wassup case:

    Apparently he has decided to abandon all pretext and go full-on denialo-mode. Did he run out of Geritol and make a tactical error?

    Best,

    D

  52. MarkB says:

    Pielke used to be a respectable scientist. When he’s out aggressively defending the clear misinformation and dishonest tactics of Watts, he loses credibility within the scientific community but is lauded with praise among a sizable cult of ideologues.

    Has anyone else noticed the clear shift in quality and objectivity of his arguments? Although skeptical of certain aspects of climate science, he used to argue more rationally and objectively. He wasn’t always like this.

  53. paulm says:

    A Challenge to Climate Change Skeptics
    by Nate Silver @ 4:16 PM
    Bookmark and Share Share This Content

    http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2009/07/challenge-to-climate-change-skeptics.html