Saturday, October 9, 2010

These People are Nuts

I am beginning to think that a significant fraction of the population is simply unhinged.

I have been having several discussions on conservative blogs about Global Warming. And there are still people out there who deny that either the average global surface temperature is increasing or that the increase it due to human activity or both. Some of them have been known to say that Global Warming is good, it will lead to nicer temperatures in Canada so its got to be a good thing.

And when I ask them about the science what I get in most cases is a conspiracy theory.

It kinda goes like this.

Every Climate Scientist who has published a peer reviewed paper on Climate Change and the human activity factors that are driving it is part of a conspiracy. Some, maybe many, perhaps even all, know that its not true but if they admit it then they will lose funding for their studies. And since they are the ones doing the peer reviews, they can reject papers that contradict this conspiracy driven false explanation. So they can control the process and eliminate the voice of dissent by simply rejecting papers that don't match the orthodoxy.

All of them.

Every one of the more than 1000 studies dating back over 20 years is part of this conspiracy. Not a one of them has won the lottery and had enough money that they didn't have to worry about grants so they can come into the open and expose the conspiracy.

This is the gist of the explanation that I get in many of the discussions that I have. Thousands of scientists are hiding the truth from us and have been for decades now.

This apparently is easier for these people to accept than all the supposed evidence that the scientists claim to have.

If you point out that 2009 was the hottest year on record, they say we can't be sure because 50 years ago thermometers were as accurate as they are now. If you talk about tree ring studies, they simply reject the concept that we can learn anything about the past from tree rings. If you talk about ice cores they reject using ice cores because of isotopic drift. If you talk about the glaciers receding over most of the world, they talk about a segment of South American or somewhere where the glaciers grew last year more than they have in a thousand years. And they will tell you with certainty that volcanoes put out an order of magnitude more CO2 than human activity. And they stick to their guns. They believe.

There mind is made up and they are not interested in facts. Actually they are convinced that all the facts coming from the climate scientists who have produced more than 1000 studies on this issue are all somehow distorted, even deceptively altered to fit a false narrative.

They remind me of the Swift Boaters in 2004. They believed all the people who were willing to challenge Senator Kerry's honesty and heroism based on the testimony who were not on his boat. Many of the people never even met Lt Kerry. Many were not in the fights he was in. Those people who were actually on his Swift Boat all supported his testimony. But people like the Global Warming deniers chose to believe everybody else, not the people who actually served on the Swift Boat Lt Kerry commanded. In the action that drew the most debate, Lt. Kerry's boat was part of a small flotilla of Swift Boats under the overall command of a man who later became one of the leaders of the Swift Boat lie. That overall commander got a Bronze Star for what happened that day, just like Lt. Kerry did. And if you read the Bronze Star citation for the overall commander, it supports all the things that he later said never happened. But people, for reasons passing understanding still want to believe that Lt. Kerry is some sort of cowardly liar.

Like I said. Nuts!!

These are probably the same kind people who, 25 or 30 years ago, who were denying that cigarettes were addictive or caused cancer.

And then there are the Creationists. They may be the funniest of all. They can't even agree amongst themselves if the Earth is 5000 or 5Billion years old. Some of them insist that humanity and the Dinosaurs actually coexisted on this planet sometime within the past 5 millennium. And they want their fantasy to be taught as science. Despite having no scientific evidence to support their myriad of theories. Despite the fact that many of their theories directly contradict the evidence available to science (getting back to humans and dinosaurs sharing the planet at one point in time).

They believe what they want to believe and when asked to provide some sort of evidence for their beliefs, they can't. They know that Evolution or Global Warming both can't be right. They just know it, so the just spout anything they can think of. And then they accuse the real scientists of incompetence or deliberate distortions or even fraud.

The new theme I have been hearing recently is that Liberals are the real racists and that the civil rights movement of the 50's and 60's was really a movement within the Conservative movement and, did I mention, that all Liberals are Racists. Its a bizzaro world vision where white is black and day is night.

Don't try to confuse them with the facts, cause I am beginning to think they are all simply nuts.


reddog said...

You need to examine the history of American exceptionalism. Being a patriotic American has always been primarily about the denial of basic truths.

That the American Revolution was about taxation without representation. That Manifest Destiny excused any behavior that enabled its implementation. That the Civil War was fought over emancipation of the slaves on the Northern side and State sovereignty in the South. That the imperialism kicked off by the Spanish American War was really a magnanimous crusade for the liberation of oppressed peoples around the World. Evolution of the species is a lie made up to undermine Christian faith.

Popular politics in America is a spectacle of sanctification of blatant untruths, things that everyone knows is a lie, in the name of preserving and further forging of the American Way.

As a former Cold Warrior in the American military, I remember snickering through the battle against the "Godless Commies". None of us really thought they posed any danger to America at all and yet their menace was vital to the cause, so menace they were.

Obama's a socialist, Islamic sleeper agent, Global warming is a hoax. The economic meltdown has nothing to do with the systematic bankrupting of America by the capitalist corporate establishment, who only really want all us little guys to be healthy, happy and affluent. What else is new, Brohiem. establishment.

RKMeier said...

I'm not sure if you're intentionally lumping creationists in with global warming "deniers." While there is a huge overlap, you're talking about two distinct issues.

Briefly, on creationism: As long as creationism isn't taught in schools, what do you care, really? In America, we can believe what we want--from nothing to God to the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Of course, it's also your right to believe that's f***ing nuts. I'm just saying.

Climate change is a different issue. If (and I think you know I'm a skeptic; I'm not stupid, and don't think I'm nuts--but then they never do, do they?)the earth is warming up, then that does concern you.

I may have mentioned this here before, but what upsets me about the climate change argument is the way its presented. I can't think of any other issue in recent memory where anyone who questions an issue is met with such hostility and about whom such generalizations are made.

For example, if we were to meet at a party, never having met before, and I mentioned early in the conversation that I was a skeptic (for obvious reasons, this is something I seldom do). I think it's likely that you would make several generalizations about me (conservative, Christian, uneducated, intolerant, Republican, poor, etc.) Only two of those apply to me, and one of 'em is poor.

It doesn't seem to occur to climate change folks that I might have other reasons to be skeptical (and skeptical is NOT the same thing as denying) other than Pastor Bob telling me that Al Gore was Satan and he was driving us to hell in an electric powered golf cart.

I'm skeptical for many reasons, but here are a couple.
1) The data seems funky. I'm not talking about the hockey graph (I'd be talking out of my ass; I'm not a statistician--nor, I'd like to add, are most of the adherents to climate change theory). It seems fantastic to me that the US is consistently listed as the highest emitter of greenhouse gases, DESPITE the environmental laws which we do have on the books and the fact that all our industry has gone overseas. China, the world's leading manufacturer is number 2. Really? Considering that China has a ton of factories, and a piss-poor record on the environment, this seems a bit unbelievable.

There are a number of other inconsistencies which science may yet address. Which leads me to

2) The cultish attitude of the scientific community in regard to suppressing dissent. I'm not simply referring to the leaked emails. As I've said before this unscientific culture neither validates or invalidates climate change. But it points to a high-handedness and insecurity that I just don't trust.

RKMeier said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Uncle Walt said...

Yes I am lumping Creationists in with Global Warming/Climate Change Skeptics/Deniers.
The choice of terms in the Global Warming/Climate Change debate is a good example. It was originally referred to as Global Warming earlier in the debate in the popular media (as opposed to the scientific media) and people who chose not to believe the scientific conclusions made fun of the term. So people engaging in the public debate started using the more scientific term Climate Change and now those who choose to dispute the basic tenants of the debate like to say that the Climate is always changing. The reality is that, if I use the term Climate Change or the term Global Warming, virtually everybody in the Industrialized world knows the basics of what I am talking about.
We are in a period of rapid and sustained increases in the Global Average Surface Temperature and that human activity, which is putting huge quantities of CO2 into the atmosphere, is the main driver of both the speed of the warming and its eventual temperature.
The same thing happens with the use of Skeptics or Deniers. If you call yourself a Climate Change Skeptic, that construction almost certainly means that you disagree with one or more of the basic conclusions that we call Global Warming or Climate Change. It is undeniably true that scientists should be skeptics. They should look at theories and see if they are testable and can the test results be repeatable. They should look at the best available data and try to come up with any other theories that might better explain the data. And then see if they can test the new theories. That is what they do.
Thesis – Analysis – Synthesis which becomes the new Thesis and the cycle starts again.
There is nothing wrong with being a skeptic.
Skepticism is encouraged.
But use that skepticism to drive investigation, and perhaps come to resolution.
And if I use the term Deniers then the deniers get all offended because I am making some allusion to those people who deny the Holocaust. And that’s just plain rude I guess.
So whether you call yourself a skeptic or a denier or The Most Interesting Person in the World, I don’t immediately make any assumption until I can ask you why you are a skeptic/denier.
Many of the people who are deniers/skeptics are clearly (conservative, Christian, uneducated, intolerant, Republican, poor, etc.) not willing or able to actually discuss the real issues in the ongoing debate. When you deny the scientific consensus because thermometers 100 years ago were not as accurate as they are today or because mankind is simply not capable of changing the climate or because of isotopic drift in ice core samples, then I will likely dismiss you as someone who just listens to Rush or Beck and believes.
If you have real issues, they can be debated in a reasonable fashion. That kind of debate is, after all, the point of my blog.

Uncle Walt said...

As for your issues, China is either close to or has actually passed us in the production of CO2 in the atmosphere. They have massive coal reserves and are bring a new coal fired power plant on line about once a week. That has only happened in the past year or so. The United States gets a huge fraction of its Electricity from coal fired plants and the US, with 6% or so of the world population, consumes about 25% of the world’s energy so it shouldn’t be a surprise that we were the world’s largest producer of CO2.
I don’t know that I agree with your characterization of the climate change community as cultish. But labels aside, the community of published climate scientists all uniformly agree on three basic tenants of this science.
The globe in getting warmer (the current warming cycle started before the industrial revolution) and is warming now faster than at any time in history.
Human activity is putting Green House gases, particularly CO2, into the atmosphere in quantities that dwarf all natural sources combined and is driving the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere to level never before seen.
Those Green house gases are the principle driving factor behind the pace of the increase in global average surface temperature.
The devil is in the details. Depending on whose model you use, the earth will either heat up by between 1 and 5 degrees this century. 1 degree is bad. 5 degrees is catastrophic.
There is no remaining debate in the scientific community about the basics of global warming. There is a wide range of possible outcomes with the resulting wide range of costs, but the basics are known.
Whether scientists are cultish or not, that doesn’t change. In a scientific debate, it doesn’t matter if you like the messenger, it only matters if the science holds up to scrutiny, and this science does.
And I lump those I disagree with on Climate Change in with Creationists.
They are different issues but to me the underlying cause is the same. A choice of belief over reason and facts.
I don’t care what is taught in the religious homes or institutions. And if creationism was the only issue in play, I wouldn’t have bothered with a post. It’s all part of a whole. This insistence, I call it deliberate ignorance, that facts don’t matter in the debating the huge issues facing this nation.
That was the point of the post.
Believing in the Creation story and denying the basics of climate change and doubting whether our President was born in Hawaii or that Hitler was a Liberal or that I am a Socialist or that the Health Care reform bill was a budget buster. None of those is fact based, yet lots of loud angry people insist on believing them.
We have had this discussion before, these people are being lied to and they chose to believe the lies despite all the facts to the contrary because beliefs that support they world view are more important to them than facts. And that’s just delusional.
Or Nuts

Caleb said...

Maybe I am a nut, but what bugs me is the efforts by some to deny that it was warmer in Greenland 1000 years ago than it is now.

Here's a cople of papers, if you really are interested in History. There are many more, if you choose to look.


Dodgy Geezer said...


"...If you have real issues, they can be debated in a reasonable fashion. That kind of debate is, after all, the point of my blog..."

Do you think that the attempts to suppress McKitrick and McIntyre's paper on Mann's Hockey Stick, which are by now very well documented, (and involved major science institutions and journals as well as the IPCC scientists) really happened, or are just a conspiracy theory...?

gamedog said...

Walt, you say "I don’t immediately make any assumption until I can ask you why you are a skeptic/denier.
Many of the people who are deniers/skeptics are clearly (conservative, Christian, uneducated, intolerant, Republican, poor, etc.)

You don't make assumptions? Putting assumptions in brackets does not negate the fact they are assumptions!

I am non of those labels. I became a sceptic in 1996 when it was pointed out to me that the IPCC were, shall we say overstating their case.

I have followed the scientific debate closely since then. I have yet to see anything to change my original first impression, in fact, I have seen much evidence to validate it.

I have come to the conclusion that the AGW/sustainability/biodiversity political meme is a political cover for Peak Oil mitigation, I understand this is a minority view, but it is my conviction non the less.

I hope you understand you will never square the AGW debate in a few blog posts, neither could anyone else responding, so there's not much point pigeon holing people on an assumption of their position from short postings, but hey, it's good to talk :)

Anonymous said...

Dear Walt,

I respect your degree in History. I have a degree in Engineering Physics. I studied Atmospheric Physics in great detail.

I am a skeptic with regards to man-made CO2 causing anything but a negligible effect on Climate.

It is true that the media, many institutions and a great many "scientists" seem to have all "agreed" that man-made global warming is a huge threat. I don't have a degree in History or Political Science or Religious Studies or Psychology, however, my explanation for this massive fraud or deception is a combination of these domains coupled with the universal driver of "self-interest".

Start by asking yourself who benefits from this deception. In a historical context, I suggest you examine other shibboleths held by other cultures and how these shared beliefs are a form of control.

The medieval church supported Richard III on the crusades. They helped rulers raise taxes for the crusades. The church benefited from the situation and gained strength. There was no actual threat to Europe and no need to invade the holy land.

The climate crusade is much the same.

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it

Anonymous said...

It is interesting that you throw the climate "deniers" in the same groups as the creationists.

I would actually put the proponents of AGW in the same camp as the creationists: they all believe in the paradise with a unchanged climate; only the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere could change it.

Skeptics don´t deny climate change; it's the AGW proponents who believe that the climate won't change by itself.

Uncle Walt said...

Even if Greenland was warmer 1000 years ago than it is now, and I don’t have an opinion, the science is still pretty clear that the whole globe is warmer now than it was 1000 years ago.
Thanks for the articles you linked. I read the shorter on European artifacts found in Canada. The longer one will take more time.

Uncle Walt said...

Dodgy Geezer
If there were any attempts “to suppress McKitrick and McIntyre's paper on Mann's Hockey Stick” there were clearly a complete failure. And it’s a distraction from the several studies that looked at McKitrick and McIntyre's paper on Mann's Hockey Stick and found some merit but nothing that challenged his basic conclusion that the 1990’s were the hottest decade since the year 1000 or the several studies by other scientists that have come to basically the same conclusion. Though Mann’s paper gained prominence with its place in the IPCC report, it’s not the only study to address the same issue and some to essentially the same conclusion.

Uncle Walt said...

I start by asking if there is a deception. And so far I see no evidence to indicate if there is.
And then I try to understand how all the published climate scientists have come to the same basic conclusion in studies conducted over several decades are all involved in a massive conspiracy to defraud I am not sure who and how that fraud profits them. It’s not like they a scientist who intended to debunk global warming couldn’t have gotten all the grant funding they wanted form the Bush Administration.
How do all these scientists profit from their conspiracy to defraud and deceive. And how is it that none of them, perhaps from retirement, have come forward with the details of this conspiracy and how it was organized and whose idea it was originally and how it was enforced. The thing about conspiracies like this is that they take too many people to keep the secret.
So I ask how the scientists benefit from lying and I don’t see that they do.

Uncle Walt said...

First Anonymous
Yes, I do throw IPCC deniers in the same group as creationists.
Both deny the consensus of scientists in their respective fields without good reason and without proposing a competing theory that adequately describes the data available.
No Climate Scientist that I am aware of claims that global temperatures can only change as a result of changes in CO2 concentration. There is no doubt that other factors, such as the Milanovitch cycles, have driven glaciations and thawing cycles in the past. That is settled science. But they also claim that the amount of CO2 we are putting into the atmosphere now are overwhelming these natural cycles. There isn’t actually a conflict there. The natural cycles still exist, the artificial temperature forcing from CO2 related to human activity is simply overwhelming the natural cycles.
Climate Change deniers belong in the same category as Creationists, they believe what they believe and they are not interested in facts nor in putting forward realistic competing theories, just in claiming that the accepted theories are wrong because they must be.

gamedog said...

Walt, you make a big leap from overstating their case, to conspiracy. You probably can't see the difference because you seem to take these overstatements as facts.

I have yet to see anything beyond speculation for the causal effects postulated for Co2 in our atmosphere.

Walt, I know, lets see if we can identify exactly where we disagree. Which science paper convinced you Co2 is the cause for the effects you are so scared of? If you want to refer to the IPCC can you quote direct and give a reference/link/page/paragraph to the exact quote?