Archive for August, 2008

3.0: The Case for CAGW is Weak

August 19, 2008

As far as I can tell, there are only 3 categories of evidence which support the CAGW Hypothesis:

(a)  It is possible to construct a simulation which is consistent with many historic aspects of the climate and which also predicts a lot of warming in response to increases in atmospheric CO2;

(b) Certain aspects of modern weather/climate are unprecedented; and

(c) Many prominent scientific bodies have endorsed and accepted the CAGW Hypothesis.

I will deal with each of these in turn.

2.0: CAGW Has the Red Flags of a Hoax

August 19, 2008

At the outset, it must be emphasized that CAGW has many indicia of being a hoax.  This alone is not a sufficient reason to dismiss the hypothesis, but it certainly shows that the hypothesis deserves careful scrutiny.

First, telling people that some horrible thing will happen unless they take action now (said action conveniently serving the interests of the person making the prediction) is one of the oldest scams in the book.

Second, CAGW fits the “metanarrative.”  In other words, the CAGW hypothesis satisfies the psychological need of many people to paint wealthy, westernized people as villains who victimize poor innocent people in the third world.

Third, the CAGW Hypothesis is largely self-serving.  In other words, if the public believes in the CAGW Hypothesis, it advances the interests of the researchers and politicians who push the CAGW Hypothesis.

Fourth, alarmists seem to claim that just about every weather event is consistent with CAGW.   If there is a drought, they say “aha! global warming!”  If there is a flood, they say “aha global warming!”  If there is a heat wave, they say “aha! global warming!” If there is a cold snap, they say “that’s weather, not climate” etc. etc.  In short, just about everything confirms their beliefs and nothing undermines those beliefs. 

In my experience, an honest hypothesis is wide open to being disproven.  A crank or BS hypothesis is not open to being disproven.

Let me put it another way:  Karl Popper pointed out that a valid hypothesis should tell us that something will NOT happen in the world.  Otherwise, it’s meaningless.  The CAGW Hypothesis doesn’t seem to rule anything out.  Certainly not in the near future, and not really in the distant future either.

CAGW is like the vague prophecies of Nostradamus.  Everything can be spun to be “consistent with” the predictions. 

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Objections/FAQ

2.1 But skeptics’ claims are often self-serving too.

To be sure, observations similar to 2 and 3 could be made about many persons skeptical of CAGW.  However, that is a reason to be more skeptical and cautious about such persons’ statements.  It is not a reason to be less skeptical and cautious about the CAGW Hypothesis itself.

2.2 How does it serve a scientist’s interest to promote fraud?  He or she would be risking his career. 

Yes, a scientist would be risking his or her career by out and out lying about results.  However, it’s not necessary to engage in blatant fraud to promote CAGW.  In the course of doing and publishing research, a researcher must make many judgments about what data to collect, which results to discard, how to analyze the data, etc.  If a researcher spins things a bit here and there in such a way as to support the CAGW Hypothesis, it’s highly unlikely that his or her career would be at risk. 

2.3  But if a researcher published convincing proof that CAGW is false, he would win the Nobel Prize.

Honestly, I doubt it.  Julian Simon made a pretty convincing case against Paul Ehrlich’s “population bomb” scare.  It doesn’t seem that Julian Simon has gotten the accolades he deserves.  Anyway, it’s always possible to explain away evidence and arguments against CAGW.  So if a researcher publishes results which contradict the CAGW Hypothesis, it’s not necessarily the case that he will be immediately acknowledged as some kind of hero.  More likely he will be castigated.

History shows that’s what frequently happens to people who go against the dominant view, whether they are right or wrong.

2.4 Are you claiming that there is some sort of conspiracy going on?

Absolutely not.  There is no need for a traditional conspiracy in which the participants get together and agree upon a course of conduct.  What’s going on is more akin to “groupthink” where each participant goes along (or more likely, keeps his or her mouth shut) for his or her own reasons.  By analogy, think back to the internet stock bubble where certain stock prices went to ridiculous levels.  There was no conspiracy, just self-propogating hysteria.

1.0 Rules of Engagement

August 18, 2008

I created this weblog to lay out my reasons and arguments for believing that CAGW (Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming) is a hoax.  I have debated this and related issues many times on the internet and I frequently find the same arguments coming up again and again.  So this blog is something of  FAQ.s

Anyway, I am happy to and interested in debating CAGW here, but I do want to lay out some ground rules:

Rule 1.1  The issue to be debated is Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming.  Specifically, the hypothesis that mankind’s CO2 emissions will, if unchecked, result in amplified warming resulting in serious negative consequences to mankind and/or the rest of the environment.

I am not interested in debating whether the climate has warmed in recent years.  Clearly by some measures it has.  Nor am I interested in debating whether CO2 emissions have the potential to increase global temperatures.  Clearly they do.

The hypothesis being advanced by global warming alarmists is that CO2 emissions will cause temperatures to increase, which will increase levels of water vapor, which will cause further temperature increases, etc. etc., until a point where there are serious negative consequences to mankind.  That’s the CAGW hypothesis.

If the CAGW hypothesis is correct, then mankind must take significant measures to limit CO2 emissions.

I have found that many alarmists try to shift the debate from CAGW to some other hypothesis, for example the much weaker hypothesis that mankind’s activities will have some effect on the Earth’s climate — which I refer to as the AGCC Hypothesis.  The distinction is as follows:  If the AGCC Hypothesis is correct, it does not necessarily follow that mankind must take significant measures to limit CO2 emissions.

Anyway, if you try to pretend that we are debating something besides CAGW, I will treat it as dishonest debate and ban you if you won’t own up to it.

Rule 1.2  No strawmen.  While debating CAGW, you are not allowed to misrepresent what I say.  Similarly, I will not misrepresent your position.  If you state or imply that my position is different from what I have actually said, I will call on you to ‘show me where I said it.’  You must either do so or own up and apologize.  Otherwise I will ban you.

Rule 1.3.  No weaseling.  While debating CAGW, you are not allowed to misrepresent your own claims or pretend to have said something different from what you actually said.  Similarly, I will not misrepresent my own statements.  If I point out that you are weaseling, you must own up to it or be banned.

Rule 1.4  Coherency.  While debating CAGW, I must be able to understand your points if I am to consider them and respond to them.  This is not a classroom and you are not my teacher.  Nor am I your teacher.  Thus, you are not allowed to leave points ambiguous for some claimed pedagogical purpose (or any other reason).  Similarly, I will make points as clearly as I reasonably can.  You must answer reasonable questions to help me understand your position.  If you evade or ignore those questions, I will ban you.  Similarly, I will answer reasonable questions about my position.

Further, if your posts are consistently incoherent, I will ban you.  If you feel that my posts are consistently incoherent, you are free to stop reading this blog.

Rule 1.5 Citations. 

(a) You are free to ask me for a citation for a point I have made, but it must be on a point you are seriously skeptical about.  For example, if I claim that men are on average taller than women and you demand a cite, you must first represent to me that you are seriously skeptical that men are on average taller than women.

(b) If you are providing a cite that a particular person or entity made a particular claim, you must quote the actual language in question.  I will try to do the same.

Rule 1.6 Personal insults.  No personal insults or intemperate language.

Rule 1.7 Spelling flames.  If you start flaming my spelling, grammar, or the like, I will probably conclude that you are conceding. 

 Rule 1.8 Examples.  If you make a general statement or observation, I may require you to provide examples.  For example, if you claim that numerous species have gone extinct due to global warming, I may require you to name or 3 examples of such species.  Similarly, upon request, I will provide examples of general statements I make.

Rule 1.9 Meta-Debate.  I’m not going to waste a lot of time arguing over peoples’ debate tactics.  If I sense things are headed that way, I will probably cut things off.

I may add other rules as time goes by, but that’s it for now.

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August 18, 2008

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